An investigation is under way into the source of a spill that has polluted Longfellow Creek in east West Seattle. First, here’s what Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Sabrina Register tells us:
About 10:30 am yesterday, SPU Spill Response responded to a call about a white substance in Longfellow Creek. SPU inspectors determined the substance to most likely be some of latex paint. The amount is unknown but estimated to be in 5-20 gallon range.
Per protocol, staff called Department of Ecology and Department of Fish and Wildlife and consulted with them on the best course of action. While SPU has captured and disposed of some of the contaminant in the pipe, the two agencies determined last night that a full-scale cleanup of the water would cause more harm than good and recommend leaving the water undisturbed. The water in the creek may be a milky white for a few days to come. SPU Inspectors will continue to source-trace to see if we can find the responsible party and will continue to monitor the creek for several days.
The affected area is centered near 24th/Thistle, a greenspace just east of the Chief Sealth International High School campus, but the spill was followed to an “upstream pipe,” according to information from Ecology that was forwarded by Puget Soundkeeper, which is also monitoring the situation. The Ecology report says part of the reason that pumping out the polluted water isn’t recommended is that it could dry up the creek, which is already in a tenuous situation this time of year, as it’s part daylit, part undergrounded along its path from Roxhill to the Duwamish River.