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UPDATE: Creek Rises, Sewage Spill

Storm crews out clearing debris and fallen trees.

6:15 p.m.

UPDATE: The Ross Valley Sanitary District is reporting that 9,000 gallons overflowed the system at the intersection San Anselmo and San Rafael Avenues, starting at 11:30 a.m. today. At that time, crews discovered a manhole overflowing at San Anselmo and San Rafael Avenues, with two other manholes overflowing on San Anselmo Avenue.

“Our crews were answering a call from Ross about a spill that turned out to be a storm drain overflowing, just prior to discovering the spill in San Anselmo. When rain falls this hard, fast and long it can not only overwhelm storm drains, but can enter and overwhelm our sewer system," said John Clark, chief of operations for the district in a release about the spill.

The district is currently estimating the spill at 9,000 gallons, which is about one-fifth the volume of an average residential swimming pool. The spill did run-off into storm drains, which flow into local waterways.

Bolinas Avenue, at the border of San Anselmo and Ross, was shut down at Shady Lane due to reports of a sewage spill earlier today, but that spill turned out to be stormwater overflow. It was while investigating that reported spill that district engineers discovered the spill at the other end of downtown. Residents are asked to use caution as crews respond to the spill and clean the area.

2:40 p.m.

UPDATE: Officials are saying the worst of the storm has passed with the creek reaching its peak height around 11:30 a.m.

The Ross Valley Sanitary District is reporting a sewage overflow on Bolinas Road at the border of San Anselmo and Ross, due to a system overload from the heavy rains. At this time, they are reporting that it is not a major spill, but are monitoring the situation.

In addition, there has been some localized flooding reported, like the flooding on Woodland Avenue seen in the pictures at right submitted by a reader. And there were several small mudslides, including on Florence Avenue and on Scenic Road.

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11:50 a.m.

Despite a few brief breaks, the heavy rain that has dominated the past week's weather returned with force Wednesday evening, bringing with it a flood watch and storm advisory from the National Weather Service.

But while parts of Marin sustained flooding and at least one damaged roadway, San Anselmo and Fairfax, according to police and fire officials, has so far escaped relatively unharmed. But, with the creek rising that could change at any moment.

According to the Ross Valley Fire Department's website, as of 11:45 a.m., the Fairfax Creek was at 5 feet (critical creek level is 7.2 feet) and the San Anselmo Creek was at 10 feet (critical creek level is 13 feet). Those numbers have risen drastically since 9 a.m. this morning.

Sandbags are available at the Pavilion in Fairfax and near the tennis courts at Memorial Park in San Anselmo. Residents, and downtown merchants, are advised to take all necessary precautions. If there is a flood today, the flood horn will sound throughout town -- warning residents.

San Anselmo Police are also warning of localized flooding on surface streets and residents should take caution.

In West Marin, the Shoreline Unified School District canceled classes at Tomales High School, Tomales Elementary School and West Marin, Inverness and Bodega Bay schools due to flood warnings and hazardous road conditions.

A section of Highway 1 also fell away due to the recent heavy rains, Caltrans officials said. The slip-out is located at post mile 4.80, just west of Green Gulch Farm, and has reduced the highway to one lane in that area, officials said.

Southbound traffic yields to northbound traffic in that location, officials said. A pilot car will be in place to guide traffic while drilling crews take soil samples from the site to design permanent reparations. Drilling crews will begin work Friday at 11 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. Crews are expected to be on site for about five days, officials said, and the restricted access could cause some delays and commuters are advised to allow for extra time.

In San Anselmo, crews finished shoring up a mudslide on Scenic Road late Tuesday evening with temporary buttressing that they hope will withstand the current storms until a permanent retaining wall can be put up by the homeowner. 

The heavy rain and high winds are expected to continue, according to the National Weather Service. with a slight change of thunderstorms Thursday afternoon, which could produce small hail. Showers also are likely Friday.

To stay informed of weather-related incidents like flooding and traffic accidents, sign up for the city of San Anselmo's e-notification system, which sends out alerts for such matters by email. To sign up for the e-notifcation system and choose the categories to receive alerts for, visit the city's website

To sign up for the Marin Emergency Automated Notification System, which is reserved for major emergencies, go here.

Bay City News Service contributed to this report.

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