Third West Seattle sewage problem in 3 weeks: Barton Pump Station overflow

March 2, 2013 at 10:07 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news | 8 Comments

10:07 PM: Another West Seattle beach has or will soon have a warning sign up about a sewage problem. We first got a reader tip tonight about sewage overflowing at the Barton Pump Station in the 5 pm to 7:30 pm vicinity, and as we were about to seek verification, an announcement came in from King County Wastewater Treatment Division with this news:

An undetermined amount of wastewater overflowed from a blown cap on a pipe north of the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal at about 7 p.m. To stop the leak, crews temporarily shut down one of the pumps to slow flows and reduce pressure in the line. The system resumed normal operation, though the cause of the overflow is still under investigation.

Crews initiated cleanup this evening and reported the overflow to health and regulatory agencies. Employees will make additional assessments, post the beach as closed, and take water quality samples when daylight resumes.

In response to our followup question about when it started, KCWTD spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson says she can’t confirm the start time but “we got a report from a State Ferry employee who said he noticed it at dusk, but the stop time sounds correct.” The beach on the north side of the dock is already off-limits to the public because of the pump station’s ongoing upgrade project, but there are residential beaches to the south of the dock and immediately north of the pump-station work.

This is the third recent sewage problem along West Seattle shores: Just a week and a half ago, Murray Pump Station, about a mile north, had an overflow estimated at 18,000 gallons when it lost power during a Seattle City Light outage in the vicinity; also last month, pipe problems at the over-water Harbor West Condos building led to leakage estimated by Seattle Public Utilities at around 30,000 gallons.

ADDED 11:13 PM: We should also note that it is the second problem the county has reported at this particular pump station in less than a week. The previous one – which was NOT reported to have caused an overflow – was a power outage last Wednesday.

8 Comments

  1. Tracey,
    I just don’t understand why this is happening so often. Is there a response from the city on the frequency of these occurances?

    Comment by Karen r — 10:31 pm March 2, 2013 #

  2. I should be clear that these three are not related – I grouped them because it’s such a close time frame AND a reminder of the vulnerability of our waters/shores. Harbor West is a private system but was investigated by Seattle Public Utilities; Murray Pump Station at Lowman was the fault of a City Light outage, and will have a permanent generator before too long; Barton Pump Station, tonight, does seem to be an on-site problem. They did have a different problem recently that did NOT lead to an overflow, which I need to add to the story.

    Comment by WSB — 11:13 pm March 2, 2013 #

  3. Karen r: This really isn’t all that uncommon. And it just continues a centuries old tradition of using any available water source as a toilet despite of our modern perception of ourselves as environmentally conscious.
    .
    The City of Seattle has 92 outfalls which on average discharge a total of about 190 million gallons (and in certain years much more) of untreated sewage, industrial wastewater, polluted street runoff, etc. EVERY YEAR. This is a major source of pollution that is still happening routinely despite a federal mandate (the Clean Water Act) signed 41 years ago which was supposed to protect and restore all waters to safely swimmable and fishable conditions.
    .
    It never really feels like anyone else is all that concerned with this alarming problem. People in our community seem to put more energy into fighting against things like bioswales and improved pump stations that would mitigate these horrifying outflows.

    Comment by cjboffoli — 11:36 pm March 2, 2013 #

  4. http://www.tox-ick.org

    https://vimeo.com/53841851

    Simple actions done with frequency can make all the difference in the world… (or Sound as the case may be)

    for more info on protecting puget sound on a larger scale…

    http://www.pugetsoundkeeper.org

    get involved!

    cjb, (and others who are passionate about this issue) please email me: laura (at) tox-ick.org and join with me to grow this grassroots effort to help fix puget sound, one person, one block, one neighborhood, one community at a time…

    Comment by DiverLaura — 2:57 am March 3, 2013 #

  5. Bad statement from SPU on the Harbor West Condo issue as they made that on based on the nine days they knew it was leaking and that was only realized because of the trimaran problem, so how long did it run into bay before ? Last high (king) stormy tides that probably did damage was late dec. or early jan. Should and could of been fixed first day noticed. The problem was not caused by trimaran for those wondering .

    Comment by wetone — 9:25 am March 3, 2013 #

  6. Bad statement from SPU on the Harbor West Condo issue as they made that on based on the nine days they knew it was leaking and that was only realized because of the trimaran problem, so how long did it run into bay before ? Last high (king) stormy tides that probably did damage was late dec. or early jan. Should and could of been fixed first day noticed. The problem was not caused by trimaran for those wondering .

    Comment by wetone — 3:55 pm March 3, 2013 #

  7. The condo leak issue was sad and disturbing.

    Comment by Greenpeace — 8:33 pm March 3, 2013 #

  8. It never really feels like anyone else is all that concerned with this alarming problem.
    .
    Indeed. The story about the (biodegradable) public art on the beach has 30 comments and this story has six.
    .
    Out of sight, out of mind?

    Comment by datamuse — 2:37 pm March 4, 2013 #

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