30 gallons of raw sewage was leaked Monday afternoon at the Sports & Spirits and Rite Aid parking lots.

Mount Shasta City firefighters were perplexed by an unusual situation Monday afternoon when they were called to clean up human waste that had leaked from a motor home’s holding tank.

About 30 gallons of raw sewage was spread across a wide area in the parking lot behind Sports & Spirits and Rite Aid’s side lot, said fire chief Matt Melo.

Because of the close proximity of Spring Creek, which runs between Rite Aid and Mount Shasta Elementary School, Melo said protocols had to be carefully followed with the hazardous waste.

“We didn’t have a manhole nearby,” Melo said. “If there was one, we could have washed it down to be treated at the water treatment plant. Instead, we had to treat (the waste) on the ground before it was picked up.”

Firefighters first closed off the area and then chlorinated the waste to neutralize bacteria. It also improved the smell that permeated the area.

Melo then called in public works for advice and made a call to the Department of Fish and Game.

After the waste was properly chlorinated, Mount Shasta Police officer Rick Deruyter found the motor home’s owner down the street at Black Bear Diner, Melo said.

The owner, who is from Mount Shasta, said he was unaware his vehicle had been leaking; the spill came through a valve that was inadvertently left open while thawing the tank, which had frozen overnight, Melo said.

In the end, the responsible party cleaned up the mess himself by absorbing the treated waste with towels and then picking them up to be properly disposed of, Melo said.

The entire process took about two and a half hours, during which a portion of the parking lot was closed.

The motor home’s owner was not cited, Melo said, but he was billed for the equipment and chemicals needed to clean up the mess.