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Closed Section of Aquatic Park to Re-Open Today

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Tuesday April 15, 2008

Results from testing water collected from the Berkeley Aquatic Park last week after a sewage spill showed no contamination, city officials told the Planet Monday. 

The shoreline from Bancroft Way to Carleton Street, which was off limits to the public for a week, will be reopened today (Tuesday). 

A sewage spill discovered at Bayer Healthcare’s Berkeley campus on Monday prompted the city’s Division of Environmental Health to prohibit human contact with water in a section of the Aquatic Park.  

The city’s Environmental Health Manager Manuel Ramirez told the Planet that the city had determined the spill amount to be approximately 1,170 gallons of sewage. 

“The spill is on the small scale, when compared to the millions of [gallons of] sewage spilled in Marin County recently,” he said. “The final test results show there was no impact from the sewage, so we will be taking off the signs prohibiting contact with water Tuesday.” 

The spill, which occurred from a city-owned blocked pipe, carries human waste and clean water from Bayer's administrative buildings at 800 Dwight Way, Bayer Community Outreach Manager Trina Ostrander told the Planet. 

Bayer’s Berkeley campus, located next to Aquatic Park, is the company’s global center for hemophilia and cardiology pharmaceuticals, and manufactures Kogenate, a large protein pharmaceutical that treats hemophilia.  

Ostrander said that a couple of Bayer employees had discovered the spill and notified the campus emergency response team.  

Ramirez said that prohibiting human contact with water in the area most likely affected was a precautionary measure. Human feces can contain fecal coliform bacteria, which produce pathogens that could infect humans.