DISCOVERY BAY -- The town has reached a settlement with its former wastewater collections operator over a 2008 malfunction that spewed 94,000 gallons of raw sewage into an upscale neighborhood's lake.

Discovery Bay's Community Services District will receive $230,534.69 from an escrow account established by the town and SouthWest Water, along with $35,000 from the water company, according to the Feb. 13 agreement.

That money covers the tab for the major spill at the Lakeshore subdivision, which included $231,000 in fines last May and $10,000 for three others in 2008 that the town paid to the state's regional water quality control board.

The town sued SouthWest in Contra Costa Superior Court last June, saying the company breached its contract by not paying the state penalties. SouthWest filed a cross-complaint against the town a month later.

"We're pleased that the lawsuit was settled and the town was made whole for the sewer spill," said Rick Howard, the district's general manager.

A SouthWest spokesman said Friday that the company does not comment on lawsuits or settlements.

The spill was caused by pumps failing to turn back on after the power went out when a bird landed on a nearby power line, forcing sewage to back up overnight. Lake fountains were left on a week after the spill, leading to additional concerns about possible illness and the spread of contamination.


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After the spill, money to pay the fines -- some of which Discovery Bay paid to SouthWest -- was placed in an escrow account. But as the issue dragged on for years because of state staffing cuts, SouthWest's escrow company would not open the account.

After months of probing officials and district employees on the situation, district directors concluded SouthWest's negligence and poor operating procedures were to blame for the spill.

SouthWest parted ways with the town in late 2008, requesting the contract be rescinded before it expired. Discovery Bay has had Veolia Water as its water operator since.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.