North Sound News

City of Everett fined after millions of gallons of wastewater discharged into river

The Washington Department of Ecology has fined the city of Everett after millions of gallons of incompletely treated wastewater was discharged into the Snohomish River in June.

Over a 19-hour period between June 4 and 5, a malfunctioning pump at the city of Everett’s wastewater treatment facility allowed 9.9 million gallons of incompletely treated wastewater to flow into the Snohomish River.

According to the Department of Ecology, a pump that was supposed to inject sodium hypochlorite to disinfect the wastewater malfunctioned, allowing the untreated water to discharge from the facility.

The issue was similar to another malfunction, which the city was in the process of installing a new sensor to detect.

However, when the pump failed in June, the new sensor did not work.

A lack of disinfection allows harmful bacteria and viruses to enter the river that flows into the Puget Sound, causing illnesses to humans and wildlife.

Because of these public and environmental health impacts, the city is required to notify the public health authorities immediately, but the city did not report the failure until June 7.

The city also failed to collect a required sample to determine bacteria levels in the partially untreated water.

The city of Everett has 30 days to pay the $13,000 fine or appeal the penalty.