UPDATE: Sewer overflow off Alki

6:01 PM: From Seattle Public Utilities:

Shortly after 12 pm today, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) responded to a sewer overflow, caused by a blockage, into Puget Sound along Alki Beach and Bonair Dr. SW. Out of an abundance of caution, staff have posted signs alerting that the beach surrounding this area is closed to water activities at this time.

Staff will sample the water and work with Public Health-Seattle & King County to determine when the area can be safely reopened. SPU will update you when we have more information.

If you find flooding or sewer backups, please report them to the SPU 24/7 Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800.

We are checking on the extent of the closure.

7:35 PM: No estimate yet of how much spilled. But the posted zone, SPU tells us, extends 600 feet in both directions from Bonair/Alki.

WEDNESDAY MORNING UPDATE: SPU says the overflow is estimated at 1,655 gallons.

39 Replies to "UPDATE: Sewer overflow off Alki"

  • Cornergirl April 27, 2021 (6:18 pm)

    We have brown water from the taps at the Whittaker. At 3pm was only brown water in the toilets. Would this be related?

    • WSB April 27, 2021 (6:39 pm)

      Sewer overflow and drinking water are different systems. But if you haven’t already, please call that same number referenced above and report your brown water!

    • Cornergirl April 27, 2021 (6:40 pm)

      Taps are now clear but toilets still brown. 

  • Guy April 27, 2021 (7:16 pm)

    I wonder how many gallons were spilled? 

    • WSB April 27, 2021 (9:03 pm)

      Already asked, I am waiting for SPU’s answer.

  • Azimuth April 27, 2021 (8:23 pm)

    That must explain the helicopter hanging around at 4:30.

  • Flo B April 27, 2021 (8:41 pm)

    WSB will flush out an answer for us!

  • WS new guy April 27, 2021 (9:19 pm)

    One reason why Puget Sound is toxic mess: Raw sewage dumped into the Sound, leaky septic systems, industrial byproducts into the Duwamish waterway, spilled oily bilge water from both sport and commercial vessels & oil runoff from cars to name a few of the issues.  And you wonder why there are no salmon and the Orca pods are diminishing? What part of this do you not understand or get!

    • Derek April 28, 2021 (7:05 am)

      Sewage is not typically dumped into the Sound. You act as if this is a regular occurrence. Orcas and salmon are mostly affected by human consumption and climate change than sewer water making its way into the Sound.

    • WS Old Guy April 28, 2021 (7:50 am)

      WS NEW GUY’s tag certainly defines him.  
      Anyone aware of Seattle’s history would know how bad the toxic mess used to be.  
      Lake Washington was so polluted that swimming was banned.  Here in West Seattle the sewage lines emptied directly (no sewage treatment) into Puget Sound.  
      Raw sewage with toilet paper was evident at the Fauntleroy Ferry dock when we launched our sailboat in the early sixties.  
      Marine vessels  and house boats were not hooked up to the sewer and flushed directly into the water.  
      Great progress has been made in our water quality and environmental codes.  
      The Federal Govt. set standards that resulted in large fines assessed to our localities and led to the extensive and costly sewage pumping infrastructure and  treatment before being released into nature. 
      These water quality improvements have been associated with the burgeoning population of most marine mammals.
      Now we have seal and sea lion predation  of salmon being defined as a cause of Cedar River steelhead extinction.

    • Susan April 28, 2021 (10:37 am)

      @WS new guy. If you think that Puget Sound is a toxic mess now, you should have been here in the 50s-70s and before then. Many homes were not connected to city sewer and their effluent went straight into the sound. Duwamish River toxic waste cleanup wasn’t even a concept. Marine regs on black water discharge and fuel spills were very lax… The Sound was viewed by most as a great dumping ground.  Things have come a LONG way. Appreciate your concern regarding these issues. 

    • Question Authority April 28, 2021 (11:44 am)

      Blockages are generally caused by human negligence when flushable wipes and other non appropriate items go down the toilet.  If there’s fault to be found it will exist in the neighborhood supplying that Pump Station.

    • Pam April 28, 2021 (12:24 pm)

      We use to crab & shrimp from there.  Never again…

  • John April 27, 2021 (9:31 pm)

    I actually called (206) 386-1800 yesterday (Monday) at 5:47pm because water was leaking out of a crack in the middle of Bonair Dr SW at that spot. They said they’d send a crew to investigate, but didn’t specify when.

  • Woof April 27, 2021 (11:31 pm)

    And people complain about occasional dog poop on the beach ;)

    • Lbalm April 28, 2021 (12:07 pm)

      Do you mean the beach where you can be fined for having a dog there? Seems like if people followed the rules there wouldn’t be any dog poop on the beach. But, what do I know.

  • Vince April 28, 2021 (10:30 am)

    Hi all, I just called into SPU and they still have a “Monitor Working Order”  in place to fix the overflow issue with no estimated time of of resolution.   There is also a gap in reporting between the King County status Combined Sewer Overflow site, which shows Alki Beach as not having any reported issue.  Perhaps that is because it is not a “combine sewer overflow?”  That is a bummer to discover, since most of the Western Washington Open Water Swimmers on Facebook often rely on that status system for information.  Let’s keep our eyes on this as a community and keep reporting here.

    • Woof April 28, 2021 (9:18 pm)


  • Flo B April 28, 2021 (10:36 am)

    WOOF. As they should!

    • Woof April 28, 2021 (11:00 am)

      Maybe people could be more concerned about the massive amount of human poop flowing into the sound multiple times a year instead? 

      Or maybe its easier to complain about the minor inconvenience and annoyance of a doggo poo along your walking path instead…

      • KM April 28, 2021 (12:22 pm)

        Studies now show that people can be concerned about more than one thing, even if people on the internet don’t like it. Very cool what science can tell us!

        • Woof April 28, 2021 (3:35 pm)

          Maybe you misread or missed the point of my comment?Specifically where I said ‘could be more concerned about,’ and ‘ maybe its easier to complain about…’

          For someone who does so much for wildlife, I am surprised you would ignore or not support the point here.

          • WS Old Guy April 28, 2021 (5:55 pm)

            ‘Woof’ forgot the rest of their sentence, “the minor inconvenience and annoyance of a doggo poo…”

            Nothing there to mis-read, the point of the comment written was to dismiss the lawful use of the beach in favor of  un-lawful toilet for a dog.     

          • Woof April 28, 2021 (7:49 pm)

            No, that wasn’t the larger point, that’s just how you’re construing it.

      • WS Old Guy April 28, 2021 (1:46 pm)

        People are more concerned and actively preventing human waste into the Puget Sound which is illegal.  

        The entitlement on display and WOOF’s lack of respect for the environment is embarrassing to responsible dog owners.  
        There are designated dog parks with water access located away from other beach uses. 

        • Woof April 28, 2021 (3:38 pm)

          Never once have said I support dog poop not being cleaned up. Just concerned there are much larger issues being ignored, largely by people who constantly gripe about smaller issues that personal irk them.

          • waikikigirl April 28, 2021 (5:41 pm)

            Woof I noticed your wink on your 1st post and I got what you were getting at… and didn’t feel the need to post comment yell at you.

          • Woof April 28, 2021 (8:44 pm)

            Thank you waikiki girl :)

      • Lbalm April 28, 2021 (2:13 pm)

        Studies also show fecal bacteria is on the soles of your shoes after strolling on one’s “walking path” because of “doggo poo.” I do hope you remove your shoes before entering your or anyone else’s home. 

        • Woof April 28, 2021 (4:29 pm)

          The science also suggests that one main source of fecal bacteria on our shoes is from using public restrooms. Maybe you should also be concerned about this?

          • Lbalm April 29, 2021 (4:27 pm)

            Not much concerned about public restrooms as I rarely use them, but thanks for the info–that’s why I love the WSB; do take outdoor walks daily where there are a lot of dog walkers. ; )

        • Largo April 28, 2021 (8:22 pm)

          I’d like to see you in NYC ;)

  • Vince April 28, 2021 (11:09 am)

    I emailed the two individuals listed on the King County Combined Sewage Overflow (CSO) site, CSO Control Program Manager, and the Capital Programs Manager asking why the SPU issued beach closure is not reflected on their site, since before this, that was the only site I consulted, and I couldn’t find any status listed on the SPU site, which is why I called. I asked them to reply with an explanation on the gap in information between SPU and the King County CSO site, and if they recommend any other reporting resources we should rely on instead for water quality safety to monitor before heading out for swims?

    • WSB April 28, 2021 (6:19 pm)

      This didn’t involve a pump station, turns out – see our followup.

  • WSB April 28, 2021 (11:28 am)

    We’ll have a separate followup later because I still have a couple questions out. Meantime, SPU says the overflow is estimated at 1,655 gallons.

  • Flo B April 28, 2021 (12:29 pm)

    WOOF. We all should speak up about overflow into the water. Saying not picking up after your dog or letting them run on the beach which is illegal is a “minor inconvenience and annoyance” is simply proof that too many dog owners are selfish and inconsiderate. Owning a pet is NOT a right. It is a responsibility.

    • Woof April 29, 2021 (7:00 am)

      ‘We all should speak up about overflow into the water.’


      ‘Saying not picking up after your dog or letting them run on the beach which is illegal is a “minor inconvenience and annoyance”…’

      This is not the accurate context of what I said.

      ‘…is simply proof that too many dog owners are selfish and inconsiderate.’

      Disagree. For one thing, I’m not a dog owner.

      Also, I am actually considering more than just one perspective here. Instead of just considering my perspective that generally dogs should be on a leash in public and that owners should clean up after their dogs, I am also considering the dogs, and their owners. Dog owners who are breaking the rules, may be doing so out of love and care for their pets quality of life. Also, some of the people who break the rules may just be either unaware of the rules.

      In the case of dog poop not being picked up, I have an awareness that well intended people sometimes might make a mistake (have you ever made one of those?) and forget their dog bags one day or have them fall out of their pocket along the way, leaving them with nothing to pick up the mess, and feeling terrible about it. Sure there are a small minority who are perhaps just inconsiderate and selfish and irresponsible. But, I think it’s more nuanced than some of you are allowing for.

      ‘Owning a pet is NOT a right. It is a responsibility.’

      Yes it is, and part of that responsibility is ensuring your pet has adequate exercise, enrichment, and a good quality of life. Unfortunately, there are neighborhood areas which lack dog friendly environments, many people may live near areas with dog restrictions, and the majority of dog owners are not affluent home owners with huge pastoral yards, yet still need to provide a good life to their pet, and these pets also need their loving homes. 

      Also, some dogs love to swim. It brings them and their owners much joy. Maybe consider this before feeling so much judgement and hate when you see a ‘rule breaker.’

      Again, not saying it’s okay to break the rules or leave dog poo in others paths, but perhaps have some experience, which allows for a less harsh perspective.

      And as I’ve said, perhaps there are bigger issues impacting the environment to raise our voices to.

      Thanks for the conversation everyone.


  • Vince May 1, 2021 (4:09 pm)

    I am happy to report that the Notorious Alki Swimmers (not affiliated  with anything in particular other than a love of arriving individually for some life affirming time in the Sound), were out this morning and early afternoon.  The water was clear and rather slack.  There were some beautiful Sea pens in the sand.  Two seals frolicked near the swimmers but, at an uncontroversial distance.  Peace

Sorry, comment time is over.