A sewer replacement project along State Route 179 in Sedona sent thousands of gallons of sewage into Oak Creek on Tuesday night.
The spill is estimated to have sent 15,000 to 20,000 gallons of effluent into the creek. For context, the volume of effluent translates to approximately 150 gallons per minute. For comparison, Oak Creek's rate of flow is 13,000 gallons per minute, according to City of Sedona officials.
The immediately affected areas of the creek have been cordoned off with yellow caution tape, according to a Sedona press release.
The spill is believed to have occurred sometime between 5 and 7:30 p.m. Tuesday when liquid effluent flowed out of a manhole in front of the Hillside Sedona Shopping Center and flowed into a storm drain that flowed to Oak Creek.
The city and Kinney Construction Services have commenced water quality tests both upstream and downstream of the spill area. Soil tests will be taken in the spill vicinity. Sedona officials expected to receive test results sometime Thursday that will be sent to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ).
Sedona officials said the city will continue to work closely with ADEQ to develop additional steps to remediate the spill.
At this point, city officials advise that pets and people do not swim in Oak Creek downstream from the spill, especially in areas such as Crescent Moon.
Kinney Construction is "hand-delivering" information on this spill to residents and businesses with direct creek access located downstream from the spill, according to a Sedona press release. Other public notices have been placed at trailheads and areas where people frequently access Oak Creek.
As a result of this incident, work has been temporarily suspended as the contractor develops a plan to ensure that a spill does not occur again and to continue safely moving forward with the utility installation project.
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