Salmon Bay Paddle - SUP Instruction & Tours in the Pacific Northwest Tel: 206-465-7167 / salmonbaypaddle@gmail.com

3/14/2017

West Point Treatment Facility - Update 3/14/17

On Feb 4, 2017 the West Point Treatment Facility on Shilshole Bay was overrun with extreme high tides and over an 1" of rain. These 'perfect storm' conditions blew out the plant's pumps, flooding the facility and thus to relieve strain on the building, 250 million gallons of raw sewage and stormwater poured into Puget Sound.  A second overflow happened on 2/16 as a result of more heavy rain.

The plant has since received emergency funds from the city to be repaired by the end of April. Last
2/16 Natural sediment and sewage plume at West Point
week, a Seattle Times article on the situation displayed a 2/16 aerial photo of West Point showing 'raw sewage' flowing into the Sound.  I contacted both parties as what was called 'raw sewage' to us (the local paddling community) resembled sediment from that morning's extreme high tide which is common at that location.  The Times writer and county confirmed that that 'plume' was indeed sewage.  Given our time on the water in that location, I'll settle with half sewage plume, half erosion sediment.  :)   Since 2/16 no untreated sewage has been released from the plant, this confirmed today the county which manages the plant.

Nonetheless, the overall situation has impacted our business and of course the environment. We have lost business and/or had to reschedule classes during the Feb plant failures.

Read for more details regarding this situation from an official from ing County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD):

Hi Rob,

You did not receive any incident response emails because there have been no recent emergency bypasses of the plant and no beach closures related to West Point.

To clarify the news story you referenced: The West Point treatment plant is not currently in bypass mode. The caption on the main photo (of the “brown plume”) of the Seattle Times article is correct. It shows the plant on Feb. 16 during an emergency bypass – which is not currently happening and hasn’t happened since Feb.16.

If a bypass occurs, we will notify the media and the public as quickly as possible, post affected beaches as closed, and inform health and regulatory agencies.

We have restored treatment capacity to about 250 million gallons per day, which is more than twice the capacity needed to treat flows into the plant at this time of year. Rainfall amounts of one inch or more within several days in Seattle could lead to flow levels that would exceed the plant capacity, and in that situation, a bypass is possible. If rain is in the weather forecast, West Point plant operators will carefully monitor precipitation levels and flow rates with the goal of avoiding a bypass. The Department of Ecology recently reviewed our temporary wet-weather plan that will enable operators to divert flows other portions of the system, including the Elliott West and Carkeek combined sewer overflow treatment plants.

We are treating at a limited primary level, which means incoming wastewater is screened of trash and debris, some organic solids are settled out and removed, and the remaining water is disinfected, dechlorinated and returned to Puget Sound through a deep-water outfall that is about three-quarters of a mile offshore.

We recently posted two blog articles to help people with a perspective on the West Point incident (and other overflows that happen from city systems and King County’s), how we respond, and water quality monitoring results. You can find those stories, updated frequently asked questions, and news releases with detailed information as they come in at our incident response page.

We encourage people to read the news releases for the most-accurate, up-to-date information. Please know that when we see mistakes or misinterpretation of info we have provided in a story by the press, our media relations staff work to correct errors. Of course, if you read something in the media that concerns you, please feel free to contact us.

Please let us know if you have further questions.
We have set up a phone line and email so that people will get responses right away even if individuals are out of the office. You may want to contact our phone line and email that is specifically for updates on West Point:  206-477-5371 (after hours, leave message), and Wastewater.communityservices@kingcounty.gov.

Thank  you,


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