Followup: Alki, Seacrest showers to be turned back on following pollution-concern-related shutdown

Just in from Seattle Parks, following our Tuesday report:

Seattle Parks and Recreation will turn on the showers back on at Alki Beach Bathhouse today, and have the showers at Seacrest Park open by Thursday, July 31.

The water had been turned off temporarily after Seattle Parks received notice from Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) that the two showers were draining directly into the Puget Sound, which is not allowed under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) or Seattle City Code.

Parks and SPU have jointly developed a temporary solution to the problem while a more permanent one is created. Seattle Parks and Recreation will install a charcoal or vitamin C treatment system to address the chlorine in the water, and post signs that say “no soap, no chemicals, no dumping.”

Parks will work with SPU to develop a method and schedule for the long-term fix, which will likely include connecting the showers to the nearby sanitary line.

Parks and SPU are still working on a solution for how to bring the fish cleaning sink into compliance.

Thanks again to Paul for the tip on the shutoff – he e-mailed us over the weekend, we inquired Monday, and published the first report after Parks replied Tuesday morning, updating the story late yesterday following a conversation with SPU. We welcome news tips 24/7 – if breaking, text or voice to 206-293-6302; otherwise, – thanks!

25 Replies to "Followup: Alki, Seacrest showers to be turned back on following pollution-concern-related shutdown"

  • Ken July 30, 2014 (2:27 pm)

    They could not have figured out any of these temporary solutions BEFORE turning off the showers and causing all the fuss?

  • sittingbird July 30, 2014 (2:43 pm)

    I just voted no on the parks asking for more money.

  • flynlo July 30, 2014 (2:56 pm)

    “…which is not allowed under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NDPES) or Seattle City Code.”

    NDPES has been in existence since 1972. Seattle City Code has been in existence since ??? Alki Bathhouse was remodeled/redesigned in 2001-2004.
    NO ONE in the City was aware of NDPES? No one in the City was aware of the Seattle City Code??? That’s the real question!! Why are we having to pay for temporary solutions and then again for a permanent solution when the requirements should have been well know by the city? I’m well aware than no one in the city government will be held accountable but at least it would be nice to hear from them as to why they couldn’t have implemented the solution during the remodel/redesign!!!

  • Delridge Denizen July 30, 2014 (3:19 pm)

    It remains to be seen, if we are on the right side of history or the wrong. But when the comment period has closed and reality has faded to legend, all we’ll remember is that for two fateful days one July some people got sand in their cars.

  • MrsB July 30, 2014 (3:22 pm)

    On our way home from Golden Gardens, the shower/foot shower were operational, as always. I believe they also drain into the Sound, why was Alli singled out?

  • dsa July 30, 2014 (3:23 pm)

    Thank you WSB, without your presence there probably would be no water restoration.

  • Steve July 30, 2014 (3:42 pm)

    Amazing…someone at Seattle Parks used a little common sense instead of their previous knee-jerk reaction. Good to see they made this right after making a fool of themselves just a day ago.

  • TwoFaced July 30, 2014 (3:49 pm)

    Funny. When I called info line listed on the notice. I spoke with a parks rep. They said that the city had been fined already for violating npdes. And they did this to avoid future fines.

  • David July 30, 2014 (3:54 pm)

    Denizen – LOL

    Exactly. The WHINING and endless hand ringing and complaining gets to be a bit much. Come on folks, it’s JUST a good shower that’s in use few weeks a year, whether it’s on or off (didn’t even used to exist until remodel) who cares…trivial.

    And do the “city didn’t know”. There isn’t a thing called “the city” or “the government”. There’s people, with specific jobs and specific responsibilities, they don’t ALL know ALL laws/codes/issues. There’s diff departments with different tasks. Remember the issue where Marination won the bid for the Harbor Ave boat launch restaurant, only to find out it was never ZONED for a restaurant. The parks folks who issues the request had (understandably) assumed it was because it had been a restaurant for ages…until someone ELSE in the city noticed by chance it wasn’t really zoned for that. That happens. No big deal, you solve the problem and move on. They’ve done that here. The HORROR of “sandy feet” has been solved for now…we can relax and enjoy the day! :)

    P.S. Yes, great job WSB for noticing this and bring it up…which caused someone to look into it…and the problem was fixed in a matter of hours. Simple!

    • WSB July 30, 2014 (4:03 pm)

      Thanks goes to Paul, who e-mailed us … and I know others were directly asking questions too, including “Diver Laura,” who as you know is a major clean-water advocate. It takes a village, etc. We may not be “Get Jesse,” who is often evoked, but we do our best to look into things brought to our attention (and some get resolved or answered without even turning into a story). P.S. For runoff-pollution-fighting tips, here’s the “7 Simple Solutions” list from the site (the program with which Laura has been working, started by Sustainable West Seattle) – – TR

  • trickycoolj July 30, 2014 (3:57 pm)

    And that’s the kind of collaboration and communication that’s missing in all our city agencies. Just like the giant traffic snafu with SPD/SDOT.

  • onion July 30, 2014 (4:43 pm)

    WSB, We’ll take you and your team over “Get Jesse” any day and twice on Sundays!

  • jwright July 30, 2014 (5:00 pm)

    sittingbird, then we’d better not catch you ever using those showers! ;)
    P.S. We voted YES on Proposition 1 to guarantee stable (not necessarily more) funding for our parks.

  • Marko July 30, 2014 (5:39 pm)

    So the chlorine in the tap water I drink is too high to drain into the Sound. Perhaps I should take more Vitamin C.

  • Jim P July 30, 2014 (5:41 pm)

    I’m trying to wrap my head around this bureaucratic gem:

    “Parks and SPU are still working on a solution for how to bring the fish cleaning sink into compliance.”

    Let’s see, fish parts, formerly attached to fish living in said ocean may not be returned to said ocean?

    Have they sat down and had a chat with the several hundred species of fish and other varied wildlife out there that *eat* other fish and who will regard the arrival of assorted fish parts as the maritime equivalent of a Vegas buffet?

    Or do they plan on somehow turning the little dears into piscatorial vegans.

    Given how much and how messily otters and seals and bears eat fish: spewing scales, fins, guts etc all over the Sound, I fail to see the need for this rule.

  • sittingbird July 30, 2014 (6:24 pm)

    Sand,dirt from the beach and sunscreen are more harmful than all those barges that drift through here every weekend? Lets be real here..

  • Dean-O-yep-its-me July 30, 2014 (7:04 pm)

    Near to (connected with) the Luna Park steel mill, just on the north side of the viaduct, is a giant, round, open, concrete vatt that contains a bluish green chemical solution of some kind (coolant for the hot forging?). THOUSADS of gallons of it – at various times depending on its use rate.
    When we get one of those fall winter spring soaking Seattle rains that we so often do this vatt fills up and overflows, spills right out onto and into the ground. Right next to and into the Duamish and into Puget Sound.
    Like I said, its an open air vatt with no top. It probaly is very old and likely leaches into the soil around it anyway. The contamination from that plant alone (never mind all the other industry, truck/car traffic etc, around that area of the Sound) is most likely staggeringly off the charts – AND YET THE CITY OF SEATTLE IS WORRIED ABOUT A LITTLE SOAP GETTING INTO THE WATER!!!
    Proof that “nobody” really means what they say and that “nobody” really cares about the water quality in PS is in the fact that the largest most significant sources of polution in Puget sound are pretty much ignored.
    Why are these real sources ignored and lip service instead paid to these other distractions such as the Alki Beach showers? Because it’s (as always) about money and politics. No one really wants to go up against the big (and small) buisnesses that either knowingly or unknowingle dump significant toxins into our waters. It puts their political career on the line and very few have the guts to do that. Instead, they try to score career points by going after kids washing sand off their feet.
    Just the times we live in I guess.

  • Ray July 30, 2014 (7:41 pm)

    Voted no on the Parks as well, but for the reasons that the Times spelled out about the group and its abilities.

    Prefer another way of funding vs what they have in place.

    And THIS decision (the original decision, not the workaround) was just asinine given everything else that flows into the sound. This is a literal drop.

  • datamuse July 30, 2014 (9:14 pm)

    This entire issue began because someone complained to the city.
    So, Dean-o, have you contacted the city about the vat?

  • Dean-O-yep-its-me July 30, 2014 (11:50 pm)


    Years ago I had contact with the director of a study who was working for the state (UW?) investigating Puget Sound H2O quality. I told them about the vat and they basicaly discounted me and my concern claming that “Puget Sound pollution is localized and confined to specific areas which we have already identified” blah blah.. IE, they blew me off probly because Im not a PHD in biology. The reaction left me both disheartened and wiser.
    In George Town, there are a handful of “construction matterial recycling” facilities all in a narrow corridor around east marginal. Recycling sounds great until you know the reality. These places have toxified the air of George Town neighborhoods so badly that on certain days you can taste the construction “grit” and see the air thick with particles of who knows what floating in the air – the air that people/families are breathing.
    A couple years back there was a study (there is always someone studying, never acting tho) that showed an alarming cancer rate in the Duammish valley including George Town. This was far higher than other (more wealthy, non industrial) areas of Puget Sound region.
    George Town today is still is a toxic place that is not fit for human beings to live in, work in, and especially to breath in. Deisel trucks spewing ash and dust dust more dust as well – and not the kind of dust thats under your bed. So, they say, “recycling is great” right? Except when its not. “Buisness is great” right? Except when the buisness puts peoples lives in danger in order to grow economically… profit…profit…profit!
    The City and the State and our Universities all know how polluted the Seattle region is – in certain “localized” areas. They know. They are well aware. They “study” it about every 3-5 years. What do the do about it however? NOTHING. Its about careers. People put their career first – ive concluded that this is simply human nature.
    Make no mistake, people die because of this. People die, they get cancer from living and working in George Town. They get cancer from eating toxified fish from Puget Sound. They die, their kids sometimes die. But what do the people in a position of power do about this? They guilt trip the average person into thinking THEY are who is poluting our region.
    Oh no, you washed your feet with soap and now youve ruined Puget Sound” “Youve watered your lawn and now wasted that water, and because you fushed your prescription down the toilet youve created drug addicted fish!” “So, we will just have to remove some car lanes and force you to ride a bike to work” – even tho that doesnt happen and people just sit in traffic jams idling more toxins into the air.
    The State and the City know about George Town, they know all about the Duamish valley. Yet it has only gotten worse in the 25 years I have lived here. It all LOOKS like people are doing something when in fact, they are doing NOTHING. “Looks” are what count in our world however and especially in politics and in careers.
    Sorry for the rant, feel free to contact whomever you wish – just don’t eat the fish.

  • In the Dark July 31, 2014 (12:15 am)


    You sure that vat is for the steel mill? I thought it was part of the terminal facilities and probably owned by the Port, not the mill. Could use some clarification though since I’ve never researched it.

  • JanS July 31, 2014 (12:42 am)

    so…washing sand into Puget Sound is not good? Has anyone talked with the beach at Alki about this? Tide in? we’re fine…tide out? Oops there goes that sand washing into the sound..yes, an over simplification…but…is it?

    washing the sand from your feet? who takes soap? people do that?

  • Robert July 31, 2014 (8:06 am)

    why is seattle using chlorine any way? that is toxic/poisionous,and it stinks. ultra-violet light treatment works better no stink no chemicals no hazzards at all . sewage is treated with it and it leaves no residue,only O3. which also gets rid of alge.

  • wetone July 31, 2014 (12:22 pm)

    Jan, many years ago Seattle Parks cut a deal with a contractor supposedly and paid them to dump a lot sand on the beach for some reason. Well it turned out to be real dirty sand and they covered Alki beach inches deep. Was very abrasive, bad stuff and had to be cleaned up. Sand down there today is not close to what the original beach sand once was and now is a mixture. In was an interesting deal that people don’t say much about. Used to be a more white/finer sand and had a lot of beach grasses growing on little island like areas everywhere. All gone by the mid 90’s

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