Sewage spills into South Sound waterways, may contaminate Capitol Lake, Budd Inlet

Yellow warning signs are staked in the ground around South Puget Sound Community College.

Thurston County Public Health & Social Services workers said there’s sewage in the water and there’s a chance it has spread across town.

Water test results from parts of Percival Creek showed sewage levels were more than 100 times higher than what is considered normal.

“It’s really upsetting because there’s so much beautiful wildlife here,” said student Alissa List.

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The sewage spewed from a damaged pipe on campus near a construction site. The pipe has since been repaired.

County workers said they’re working to determine how much sewage spilled, what caused the spill and when it began.

On Tuesday, they started getting reports of a foul odor.

“It smelled really bad on campus,” said student Jaylend Simmons.

Simmons is a junior at South Puget Sound Community College. He’s doing a research project on water quality and tested the water himself.

“I did have a lot of places that came out very, very contaminated with fecal chloroform, but that was about a week and a half ago,” he said.

The sewage in Percival Creek could have traveled to local beaches and waterways, like Capitol Lake and Budd Inlet. On Thursday, county workers took follow-up samples to see how far the contamination had spread.

They’re working to clear the sewage they can see and want to warn the community.

“They could be impacted by the sewage, so we do want people to avoid touching the water at this point,” said Senior Environmental Health Specialist Jane Mountjoy-Venning.

Warning signs will be up until test results come back showing safe levels.

Results from water samples taken Thursday throughout Olympia will be back Friday or Monday.