West Seattle power outage: Lowman Beach sewage overflow

(Cameraphone added 5:23 pm, generator truck at Lowman Beach)
Just got word from King County Wastewater Treatment that, as often happens in power outage situations, this one triggered an overflow at the Murray Avenue pump station by Lowman Beach. The county estimates 40,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed for about 15 minutes before they got a portable generator going so the normal pumping could continue. They’ve posted signs on the shore, however, warning of possible contamination. (Added: We talked with Annie Kolb-Nelson at the county; she confirms Lowman still doesn’t have an emergency generator – that’s part of the CSO projects, with a meeting coming up March 29.) Read on for the full news release:

King County’s Murray Avenue Pump Station is operating normally again after the system was disrupted by a power outage that hit the West Seattle area just before 3 p.m. Tuesday.

Sewer utility crews with the county’s Wastewater Treatment Division quickly stopped the sewage overflow and installed a portable emergency generator in the pump station, restoring normal operations.

It’s estimated that 40,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed for 19 minutes through an emergency outfall into Puget Sound near Lowman Beach Park.

According to weather reports, strong wind gusts on Alki reached 52 miles per hour Tuesday afternoon, knocking out electricity to about 2,800 people in the West Seattle area.

In response to the overflow, county employees took water quality samples, posted warning signs on the beach and notified health and regulatory agencies.

The Murray Avenue station pumps wastewater from West Seattle to the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. West Point treats about 133 million gallons of wastewater each day, and up to 440 million gallons during rainy weather.

11 Replies to "West Seattle power outage: Lowman Beach sewage overflow"

  • dr March 16, 2010 (5:07 pm)

    I was just here and a seal was swimming just 15 ft from shore. Kills me to think how the wildlife is affected. This was where the orcas were too.

  • AnotherIdiotInWS March 16, 2010 (6:04 pm)

    EWWWW…. this can NOT be good! Our poo is in the water and the seals are swimming in it!

  • Leroniusmonkfish March 16, 2010 (7:01 pm)

    I would recommend not eating any seal or orca meat for the next month or so.

  • coffee March 16, 2010 (7:04 pm)

    Its not just the poo, but think of all the other things that people put down the drain that they should not be putting down the drain…..

  • AnotherIdiotInWS March 16, 2010 (7:10 pm)

    Oh, no kidding! OR!!! Think of the things people put down their throats and then THAT is in the poo! Holy crap! (pun very much intended)
    Those poor seals don’t need any of this.

  • old timer March 16, 2010 (7:47 pm)

    How much longer are they going to screw around with the much needed and much discussed improvements to this facility?
    They’ve been playing for a couple years now, and nothing happens.
    Our tax dollars on vacation?
    Certainly not engaged in visible work.

  • Ms Evelyn March 16, 2010 (8:17 pm)

    This is a sad situation all the way around. Why is this still allowed to happen? Geez, in this day and age it just seems pathetic for the sea life and human life as well. What is it going to take to take care of this? Who is responsible for this not being dealt with?

  • Brian March 16, 2010 (8:20 pm)

    Mmmm feces topped orca.

    Honestly how much more can a generator cost above and beyond the one on wheels. Stop giving money for people to babysit seals and put a down payment on a decent plan for an occurrance that is fairly likely to occur.

  • Lura Ercolano March 16, 2010 (10:12 pm)

    While it would be reasonable to get this fixed, it’s not like in nature the water is 100% poop-free. Keep it in perspective.

  • ajwren March 17, 2010 (10:10 am)

    I am thinking of the fallout from this “unplanned” shutdown of our waters supply. I have already a dishwaser (new) gone down since this happend and im sure this is only the tip of the Iceberg for our house alone. I am wondering whom else is affected. Saw an O’Nell Plumbing van @ neighbors yesterday. I know they aint cheap! anyone else?

  • disgusted March 17, 2010 (12:34 pm)


    There’s nothing natural about 40,000 gallons of sewage containing human excrement pouring into the bay. It’s disgusting, dangerous for humans and animals, and completely preventable with a cheap backup generator. If a corporation did this, they’d be on the front page, fined, and people would be calling for boycotts.

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