Smelly creek is a mystery; scientists try to trace source of human bacteria

SHORELINE -- Residents will get one-on-one time with scientists after a new study confirmed that human bacteria has been detected in Thornton Creek.

The Seattle Public Utilities will present their findings with the public at a meeting Thursday night.

The meeting is 7:15 p.m. at  Meadowbrook Community Center at 35th Ave NE in Seattle.

Thornton Creek has consistently had high bacteria counts. Multiple E. coli and fecal coliform samples have been detected. But the new study confirmed that human bacteria is also present and is contributing to the water-quality problem.

Thornton Creek discharges into Lake Washington. Potential sources of bacteria into Thornton Creek could be sanitary sewers or the stormwater drainage system. Additional sources could be homeless encampments in the green belts or illegal dumping of RV wastes. So far none of these sources have been confirmed.

Over 90% of the creek's main channel is above ground. It flows through more than 700 backyards and through 15 parks.

Some residents are concerned about health risks to pets and kids who may come in contact with the creek.