68,000 gallons of sewage spills into Lake Washington, Kirkland beach closed

by: Chris Francis Updated:

KIRKLAND, Wash. —

Marina Park in the heart of Kirkland is a favorite spot for parents and their kids any time of the year. But this coming weekend, the first day of the boating season and with temperatures expected to be in the high 70's, it is expected to be packed.

Which is why three red signs at the water's edge are bad news. Contaminated, Do not swim, Do not wade, Do not get in the water. On Thursday, 68,000 gallons of sewage was dumped into Lake Washington near Marina Park after a transmitter failed on a pump at the Kirkland Wastewater Station.

It took crews about an hour to stop the overflow and longer to clean up trash and visible material.

We read the press release from King County to parents tonight. Michelle Motley had this reaction: "oh my goodness, so it's toxic?... like bio-hazardous waste that got in there? that's absolutely disgusting, kids are going to get sick."

Motley brought her family down to Marina Park Thursday night so her kids could run around, they didn't stay long. She worried that other parents and small children wouldn't get the message.

"I'm not certain that people are going to see that red sign that says closed and understand that it means don't get in the water. "

Megan Stephens and her two kids come to Marina Park all the time. She said she seemed to remember this kind of thing happening several times before so we checked it out and found out that this is the third failure in just the last four years at the Kirkland station. In 2010 - 25,000 gallons were dumped, in 2011, 8000 gallons.

King County told KIRO 7 that the Kirkland station has been operating for more than 40 years and aging equipment needs to be replaced. Officials are hoping a $2 million upgrade scheduled for later this year will keep the sewage where it belongs, and keep the beach open.

As for the current mess, the county will test the water every day and they say it takes 24 hours for those tests to come back and they need two straight days of clean readings to open the beach. The results of the test are not likely to be available before Monday.