Power outages at wastewater treatment plant, pump stations cause overflow into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

Power outages at wastewater treatment plant, pump stations cause overflow into Puget Sound, Lake Washington
(Washington State Department of Ecology)

KING COUNTY, Wash. — Warning signs were posted at some King County beach parks, advising people to avoid contact with the water after sewer overflows due to power outages at a wastewater treatment plant and pump stations.

King County’s Department of Natural Resources and Parks reported that overflows happened early Wednesday morning into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington from its West Point Treatment Plant, Richmond Beach, East Pine and Medina pump stations.

According to officials, between midnight and 2 a.m., the West Point plant experienced voltage fluctuations, which caused in-plant pumping stations to shut down repeatedly.

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Crews were able to mitigate the overflow and get all the plant’s systems back online within two hours, according to crews.

Officials said an estimated 11 million gallons, 80% stormwater and 20% sewage, overflowed into the Puget Sound.

At the Richmond and Medina pump stations, overflow was estimated at 165,000 gallons and 80,600 gallons, respectively, according to crews. As much as 2.2 million gallons of stormwater and wastewater also overflowed into Lake Washington from the East Pine pump station, officials said.

Health and regulatory agencies were notified and will test the water quality, according to DNRP. Beach closure signs were posted at Discovery Park, Carkeek, Golden Gardens, Richmond, Madrona and Medina Park beaches, warning people to avoid contact with the water over the next several days.

The Washington State Department of Ecology stated that “contact with fecal contaminated waters can result in gastroenteritis, skin rashes, upper respiratory infections, and other illnesses. Children and the elderly may be more vulnerable to waterborne illnesses.”