Beached-buoy followup: King County trying to solve the mystery

June 30, 2014 at 6:49 pm | In Environment, Seen at sea, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

That photo shared by Lura last night showed the retrieval of a King County water-quality-monitoring buoy from its surprise spot on the Beach Drive shore, less than a year after it was put into place off Lincoln Park. Following up on what we reported Sunday, here’s what the county says today:

King County Environmental Laboratory employees are looking into how a water-quality- data-collection buoy came loose from its mooring before washing ashore along West Seattle on June 29.

The buoy and its host of environmental sensors had been in place off Point Williams since July 2013 and automatically transmitted a wealth of important data about environmental conditions. King County employees were notified early in the morning of June 29 that the buoy was ashore along the 5400 block of Beach Drive SW, south of Me-Kwa-Mooks Park.

Later that day, laboratory employees successfully refloated the buoy and towed it to the Elliott Bay Marina while arrangements are made to move it to the County’s environmental laboratory in Queen Anne for refitting.

While the buoy itself appears unscathed by its unexpected journey, a sensor that detects and transmits data on water temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen, specific conductivity and depth did not fare as well and was damaged.

Exactly how the buoy came loose from its mooring remains a mystery. The buoy was secured off Point Williams by nearly 1,200 pounds of weight, including two railroad wheels and a heavy gage steel chain that was attached to the buoy by a shackle mechanism.

Environmental laboratory workers will try to determine what part of the mooring set-up broke and how it can be repaired so that the buoy can be placed back at Point Williams.

4 Comments

  1. Perhaps some divers need to take a look at the shackle set up to see if they can get a clue what happened.

    Comment by cj — 9:12 pm June 30, 2014 #

  2. I second that, I am curious as to what happened.

    Comment by Kennedy — 12:48 am July 1, 2014 #

  3. County communicator Doug Williams acknowledged in the note to us including this info that they still have questions to answer. I have made a note to follow up – don’t know how long it will take, but we keep track of unanswered questions, so even if it’s a matter of weeks, we’ll do our best to report back – TR

    Comment by WSB — 6:43 am July 1, 2014 #

  4. Tow boat would be my guess. They tend to do that once in a while..

    Comment by Craig — 1:36 pm July 1, 2014 #

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