6:35 PM, FIRST REPORT: Just as King County gets ready to start a 2-year project to upgrade the Barton Pump Station north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock – with work to include a backup generator – we have word there’s been an overflow because of a power failure. County spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson says, “There was a power interruption that occurred around 4:30 p.m. and it caused the pumps to shut down, which led to an overflow that started about 20 minutes later.” She says crews are on scene but she is not sure the overflow has been “contained” yet, adding, “Our biggest priority is to protect public health. We’ve posted the boat access area near the pump station as closed, and we’re working with our Environmental Lab crews to determine tidal directions. Doug Marsano from our Community Services group is heading out to assist with public notification. We also notified health and regulatory agencies about the overflow and will monitor water quality over the next several days.” More as we get it.
7:54 PM UPDATE: Just back from checking out the scene at the station and neighboring Cove Park. Added photos – top photo is the “closed” sign posted at the beach; the one above this paragraph is the hatch to the pump-station operations area, from which a worker emerged and told us she’s working on it. That’s corroborated by both Kolb-Nelson via e-mail and Marsano, who was pulling up as we were walking away from the station. He says they’re hoping most if not all the overflow was contained to the outfall pipe and can be recovered via submersible pumps they’ve brought in. The overflow itself was stopped within just over an hour from its start; they’re still trying to find out what caused the power interruption.