Photo courtesy of King County.
West Point Sewage Treatment Plant in Magnolia.

Problems at plant lead to more waste water in Puget Sound

After more rains inundating the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant, millions of gallons of raw sewage are flooding into Puget Sound.

King County officials said that the treatment plant is currently operating at 50 percent of its normal capacity since last week when there was an equipment failure. Due to heavy rains, plant technicians turned on partial emergency bypass pumps at about 3:30 a.m. in order to prevent the whole plant from flooding. 50 million gallons of water per day are currently flowing through bypass pumps.

“The action is necessary to protect plant workers and West Point’s current level of wastewater treatment,” officials stated.

The plant is undergoing repairs after an equipment failure on Feb. 9, which led to over 200 million gallons of untreated stormwater blooming into the sound byway of an emergency bypass. The pumps were on for 19 hours.

Officials said that they are working with technicians and contractors to address the emergency and make repairs to the plant.

The water is 10 percent raw sewage and 90 percent storm water, which contains heavy metals, pet feces and other harmful toxins. Like last week, health officials have warned people to avoid the waters near North Beach and South Beach in Discovery Park. Affected areas are posted with signs.

During heavy storms, rains flood Seattle stormwater control infrastructure and lead to combined sewage overflows (CSO). The City and the County are working to address the issue with large-scale water treatment projects due to be completed in 2025.

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