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Sewage Warning Partially Lifted for Newport's Yaquina Bay on Central Oregon Coast

Published 08/04/22 at 4:24 AM PST
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Sewage Warning Partially Lifted for Newport's Yaquina Bay on Central Oregon Coast

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(Newport, Oregon) – One bay on the central Oregon coast can return to normal after a nasty sewage issue - mostly normal, that is.

After a major sewage line rupture last month that closed off waters of the Yaquina Bay in Newport, that water hazard warning is now partially lifted as of today, August 3. The City of Newport Public Works announced the reopening of much of the shoreline of the central Oregon coast bay's waters, although not all of it.

Contact with the water of Yaquina Bay should still be avoided on the southern side in the South Beach area and Bayfront on that end. This also includes no crabbing or clamming in that section. Those areas should still be avoided until further testing has been done, concluding that the water there is safe.

The Public Works department sent out a press release revising the numbers for gallons of raw sewage spilled into the bay, after a pump main rupture on July 15. While the spill ceased about 27 hours later, the original estimate was 340,000 gallons was reported. The revised number, based on actual measurements, is around 94,100 gallons of sewage getting into the Oregon coast bay.

“As of 2:54 pm August 3, 2022, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has advised that based on the most recent sampling results showing the water is safe, the City can remove the advisory and lift the hazard warning for Yaquina Bay,” the department said in its press release.

Exactly how this affects beaches is not clear, so it may be advisable to stay out of the water at South Beach State Park for now. Beaches are not really in the test zone, leaving much leeway on either side. Back on July 16, Justin Scharbrough, Public Works Operations Superintendent, told Oregon Coast Beach Connection that all efforts are being focused on the bay, per information from Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

“Our Sample and Analysis Plan from DEQ does not include the beaches,” Scharbrough said. “Currently the water seems to be pooling near the Bayfront and Fishing Pier.”

Newport's Yaquina Bay is known for exceptional crabbing year-round. The loss of this activity in the summer season is bound to significantly impact vendors who rent out crabbing equipment along the Bayfront.

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