Heavy rain sends 11 million gallons of untreated wastewater into Puget Sound

West Point Treatment Plant (Photo credit: King County Government website)

The West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle sent 11 million gallons of untreated storm water and sewage into Puget Sound on Wednesday, King County’s wastewater treatment division announced, blaming the release on widespread power outages.

Additionally, heavy rainfall overwhelmed the capacity of the county’s Shoreline pump station, while flow volumes did the same at its Medina facility, sending overflows of 165,000 gallons and 80,600 gallons, respectively, into Puget Sound, the Kitsap Sun reported.

The overflows led the Kitsap Public Health District to issue health advisories along Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap shorelines. A no-contact advisory is in effect through Jan. 19, and a shellfish harvesting advisory is in effect through Feb. 2.

The affected areas include the east shoreline of Bainbridge from Wing Point to Agate Point as well as Suquamish shorelines from the Agate Pass Bridge up to north of Kingston.

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Pumping stations at the West Point facility shut down repeatedly between midnight and 2 a.m. as the facility experienced "a series of voltage fluctuations," an announcement of the spill from King County said.

"While county field operators worked to get the pumps running consistently, operators were able to mitigate the amount of the overflow by controlling the partial closing of the emergency bypass gate," the department said.

"Equipment and operations worked as needed to protect the plant and employee safety from flooding. All systems were back online within two hours."