A flood of feces: Storm water overwhelms sewer system



SEATTLE -  A deluge of rain has overwhelmed Seattle's sewer system.


Storm water mixed with raw sewage pumped into the waterway the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Ballard. 


A sign warned people to stay out of the water, where pieces of raw sewage had been seen floating.


"There's enough capacity in our system for sewage," Susan Soltzfus of Seattle Public Utilities said. "But when storm water gets in, that's when we have problems."


More than 38 sites are known to overflow when heavy rains hit, including sites at Portage Bay, Lake Washington, the Duwamish Waterway, Elliot Bay and the Puget Sound. 


Raw sewage has the potential to make people and pets sick. 


"There is a very far outside potential for diseases like cholera, or anything that is borne by sewage by human waste," Soltzfus said.


The city is spending at least $500 million to retrofit the system. The problem should be fixed by 2025.


Until then, the city advises that people don't come in contact with the water for at least two days following a big storm.