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New Pipes, Better Cleaning Equal Fewer Sewer Spills

— Sewer spills in the city of San Diego are down about 90 percent during the last decade. City officials say the reduction can be credited to better pipe cleaning and new pipes.

Trucks such as this one are used to clean sewer lines in San Diego. The truck was on display during a news conference on February 24, 2010.
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Above: Trucks such as this one are used to clean sewer lines in San Diego. The truck was on display during a news conference on February 24, 2010.

San Diego had 365 sewer spills in 2000. Nine years later that number had been reduced to 38. Ann Sasaki is with the city's public utilities department. She says more than 300 miles of the city's 3,000 mile sewer pipeline system have been replaced since 2002. While recent rains have coincided with sewer spills, Sasaki says the events aren't related.

"Overall, when we look at the history of our sewer spills over the last ten years, and when the rain events have occurred, they haven't necessarily correlated," she says.

Bruce Reznik with San Diego Coastkeeper says the reductions are great news. But he says the city only made the changes after Coastkeeper sued San Diego over ongoing sewage spills and forced the city to act.

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