• 2 million pounds of debris cleaned up to keep boaters safe

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Harbor Patrols have been busy clearing logs and hidden hazards from Lake Washington and Puget Sound before boating season.

    They've pulled more than two million pounds of floating debris from the water.

    Jeff Dubois is reporting live from in Renton, where a lot of the debris flows into Lake Washington. Watch on air through 7 a.m. and online through 8 a.m. http://kiro.tv/LiveNews

    It comes down the Cedar River.

    Over the winter months, floodwater, and then spring runoff, raise the river level, dislodging fallen trees upstream, which then float down river and empty out into Lake Washington.

    Those logs create major hazards for boaters.

    So, authorities, primarily the Seattle Police Department's Harbor Patrol on Lake Washington, have to haul them out of the water.

    A huge amount of debris is collected, mainly between October and June. Logs and wood are piled up along with a few boats that were stripped and abandoned.

    The Army Corps of Engineers has a huge cleanup program all over the Puget Sound as well, and they collect all the debris that SPD pulls from Lake Washington.

    They average 1,000 tons’ worth of logs and debris.

    The Harbor Patrol took reporter Jeff Dubois and a news crew out Tuesday to show them how they collect logs that boaters call dead heads.

    They spear the logs, pound hooks into them, fish a line through, and then tow them to a holding area.

    They say the work is constant. Just about every shift they either find a dead head or someone calls one in.

    It's critical to clear them before the boating season gets going in full force.

    “They could take out the propulsion system of the boat. We try to address any (navigation) hazards we have,” said David Leonard with SPD Harbor Patrol.

    Once collected, a lot of the logs that aren't rotted or soaked with creosote are used in wetland restoration projects or are sold to contractors who will chip them up or use the wood for other purposes.

    Whatever's left over is sent to the landfill.

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