WEST SEATTLE BEACHES: Condo sewage leak closes shoreline south of Alki Point

(WSB photo, Cormorant Cove Park)

Thanks for the tip about the warning signs up along part of West Seattle’s shores. Waterfront areas south of Alki Point are posted as “closed” because of water pollution. We asked Seattle Public Utilities about it and just received this statement detailing the reason for, and location of, the closures:

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) Spill Response was notified Tuesday afternoon of a potential sewage discharge from a condominium complex located on Beach Drive. The source of the sewage does not involve SPU infrastructure. SPU crews are working to determine the number of units that may be discharging. No discharge volume estimate is available at this time.

Per protocol, SPU notified Dept. of Ecology, Public Health-Seattle & King County, and Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Signs are posted at public access points including Cormorant Cove Parklet, Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint at Alki beach, and the Andover Place street end beach access. Once the discharge has stopped, SPU will conduct sampling to determine if the beach may be reopened.

SPU property owners are responsible for maintaining their sewer lines, and any discharges from unmaintained lines can result in fines.

Charles Richey Viewpoint includes the area more commonly known as Constellation Park.

45 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE BEACHES: Condo sewage leak closes shoreline south of Alki Point"

  • AlkiBeach July 6, 2022 (2:37 pm)

    Is this from the Harbor West condos? If it is it then it is not the first time that they have polluted Puget Sound with sewage. Time for them to pay a big fine.  :-(

    • flimflam July 6, 2022 (3:56 pm)

      I was just going to say, if this is indeed from the condos they need to pay a fine and see repercussions.

    • WS Res July 6, 2022 (4:46 pm)

      I was just thinking the same thing – yuck, what a mess.

    • Alki guy July 18, 2022 (2:02 pm)

      I’m thinking about calling / emailing Harbor West to see what’s up … or at least put a little pressure on. 

  • Jeff July 6, 2022 (2:52 pm)

    This is not the first time from that building.   Clearly the fines are not large enough to provide an incentive to make proper repairs. 

  • Jay July 6, 2022 (3:53 pm)

    It’s depressing how often sewage leaks happen. Beach Drive, Bonaire, etc. These are fantastically wealthy neighborhoods, why do they have decrepit infrastructure that contaminates our shared waterways? Sewage lines near the water need to be inspected regularly and updated so that this stops happening several times a year.

    • Neighbor July 6, 2022 (6:11 pm)

      Not sure, do property taxes pay for the neighborhood or do they go into a common citywide pool?  I assume wealthy neighborhoods subsidize the poorer ones.  Not sure how these fixes get prioritized but I hope it’s by impact and not income.

      • Rocket July 6, 2022 (7:04 pm)

        As the article mentions the leak is not from poor city infrastructure but from negligent private property.  Taxes have nothing to do with it.

        • Neighbor July 7, 2022 (2:39 am)

          I guess you aren’t paying attention.  Beach Drive and Bonaire are two other leaks on the mainland.

      • 2cents July 7, 2022 (5:10 pm)

        Denser, mixed use neighborhoods subsidize SFH neighborhoods on a tax-basis. Generally, the denser neighborhoods are the “poorer” neighborhoods.

    • WS Res July 6, 2022 (9:57 pm)

      Because rich people have managed to create a society where they don’t actually get held accountable.

      • Neighbor July 7, 2022 (2:37 am)

        Careful.  Those aren’t cheap condos but it’s not like it’s full of the 1%.  These are people you see at the grocery store.  If you believe this kind of rhetoric you need to get out more.

    • Steve July 7, 2022 (7:25 am)

      This is a problem with sewer lines on buildings that are built over the water. The piers move. Strong wave action can break apart a fitting. I have repaired the sewer line on this building before. The line has to have some flexibility or it would break with every shift. While we do not want to see any waste go into the water this isn’t a building with thousands of tenants. It could just be one bathroom like broke apart.

  • Mj July 6, 2022 (4:33 pm)

    And I am sure the Condo association will be required to pay for the damages/environmental clean up. 

    Why are the so called campers not held to the same standard when they trash the environment?  This is a double standard that in a City that purports that everyone needs to be treated equally needs to stop.

    • wetone July 6, 2022 (5:30 pm)

      I agree with ya MJ. The unfortunate are doing much more damage to our waterways and environment year after year with ZERO accountability from city, county, state and tribes. King County’s West Point Treatment Plant has a terrible record for dumping waste into Puget Sound. Yes there is a fine involved each time, but who pays ? the tax payers….. and county keeps having the same issues repeatedly. These condos have had past issues with sewer and repaired just as homeowners on the hard do when needed. Difference being it’s visible from these condo’s, not so when your on the hard. If not fixed in a reasonable time then there should be some kind of fine, but I think they need to spend dollars on fixes not fines.

      • Kimberly July 7, 2022 (7:24 am)

        Let’s just call it what it is……paying ,after the fact, to dump crap in our water.,…nothing remediates the damage done. Seattle’s claims to be all about the environment are a joke. But it’s a very profitable joke :) 

    • The King July 6, 2022 (8:18 pm)

      I agree with you MJ. Never in our recent history do I remember hearing about clams and fish in the puget sound testing positive for drugs. The problem is laws are enforced by class. When someone has done well for themselves and an incident like this sewage spill happens, the new seattleites froth at the mouth demanding prosecution to the fullest degree. When a “camper” does similar….it’s not their fault. 

      • Sarah July 8, 2022 (9:08 am)

        Mollusks have started testing positive for prescription drugs because of good ol toilet water after it leaves wastewater processing. It’s not just opioids, but antidepressants and even some diabetes medication. More info here.

    • Derek July 13, 2022 (7:00 am)

      Unreal to blame homeless and the poverished for society’s doing

  • B W July 6, 2022 (4:59 pm)

    Special Assessment coming your way!

  • SB July 6, 2022 (5:07 pm)

    I was swimming in this and when I got out the signs were up. What is the worst that could happen? Kind of freaking out now. 

    • LC July 6, 2022 (5:46 pm)

      Go to a doctor or health department and see about getting an imunoglobulin (aka gamma globulin) shot.  You are at risk for hepatitis and a myriad of other diseases including salmonella.  Sewage and waste water contain bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that may cause diarrhea, fever, cramps, and sometimes vomiting, headaches, weakness, or loss of appetite.

    • LGO July 6, 2022 (6:38 pm)

      I was out kayaking, but I think swimming takes the cake. 

    • beach drive boho July 6, 2022 (9:07 pm)

      If you were exposed I hope you will call the city attorney. It’s time for there to be real ramifications. 

      • Land Lubber July 7, 2022 (6:35 am)

        So you’re saying they made no attempt to get people out of the water when they put the signs up on land? That seems negligent on SPU’s part. And really gross! Sorry that happened to you : (  

  • LGO July 6, 2022 (6:36 pm)

    GREAT! I launched on my kayak at 2:15 right before they posted the sign. I had to wade through poop water to get in. FANTASTIC. 

  • Al King July 6, 2022 (6:49 pm)

    This building is getting old. What year was it built?  Also, LOVE the “tax the “rich” comments.  Never hear at what level one becomes “rich” and betting if any of those demanding the “rich” pay more get to that level of wealth they’ll magically forget that and squeal with indignation if any fingers get pointed at them.  

    • Kevin on Delridge July 6, 2022 (7:31 pm)

      Let’s just tax you.

    • Poultine July 6, 2022 (9:22 pm)

      You’re literally the only person talking about taxing the rich so far. Most everyone else is saying that a noted repeat offender be held accountable and pay fines for their negligence.Are you opposed to law enforcement in this case?

  • Trace Blends July 6, 2022 (7:02 pm)

    What about all the companies that dumped their sewage/waste into the sound for the past 50 years or more? It only stopped recently

  • Scott from east of here July 7, 2022 (8:07 am)

    Spit happens!

  • SouthAlki July 7, 2022 (10:12 am)

    What about the people living in their van and bus at Me Kwa Mooks for months?  Are they dumping sewage or just taking advantage of the honey bucket on the street?  That yellow bus is blocking it from being serviced and it must be disgusting. Move on, people. 

  • Sb July 8, 2022 (11:27 pm)

    Any update?

    • WSB July 8, 2022 (11:53 pm)

      Not yet. There’s always a chance they took the signs down unannounced, though (we’ll be looking tomorrow).

      • Melody Wainscott July 9, 2022 (1:02 pm)

        Signs are still up as of my morning walk, 7.09.22. at 9:15 am. 

        • WSB July 9, 2022 (2:29 pm)

          Thank you for the update.

          • AlkiBean July 11, 2022 (10:54 am)

            I really wanted to go out for a walk on the neighborhood south Alki beach for the low tides this week. I’m not going to be very happy if they have not addressed this issue yet! Where do I go to find out the status of this?

          • WSB July 11, 2022 (12:03 pm)

            I’m waiting for an update from SPU and will publish it when we hear back. There are websites that are supposed to show closed beaches but this didn’t show when last I looked. Meantime, Lincoln, Lowman, Duwamish Head are all interesting at low-low tide too.

  • AlkiBean July 11, 2022 (10:52 am)

    I really wanted to go out for a walk on the neighborhood south Alki beach for the low tides this week. I’m not going to be very happy if they have not addressed this issue yet! Where do I go to find out the status of this?

  • Ry July 12, 2022 (10:22 am)

    Is Cormorant still closed?

  • Joan July 12, 2022 (12:02 pm)

    I am sorry for the residents who live there and are not to blame. However, this condo complex is a nightmare and never should have been allowed. I’m sure the laws at that time were not what we have today.  I would never feel safe in there.

  • LGO July 13, 2022 (8:46 am)

    How has this not been addressed yet? The signs at Constellation Park aren’t even visible to most. I keep seeing people out playing in the water.

  • Carolyn July 14, 2022 (8:36 pm)

    There was no sign at Seahurst Park (7/14) and the water was filled with sewage!!! And WHY is it even possible for a condo to just discharge sewage in the sound? We need consequences!!! This is disgusting and destroying our natural resources. 

    • WSB July 15, 2022 (10:29 am)

      Seahurst in Burien? If there’s a sewage problem there, it’s unrelated to this. Southern boundary of concern here is the Andover access point off Beach Drive in West Seattle.

  • Jefezplt July 21, 2022 (4:30 pm)

    There is No sign at Weather Watch park or Mee Wa Mooks visible from sidewalk … how far south does this extend? I was out there twice last week on my SUP … Be nice to know if itz been tested and what the current status is. 

Sorry, comment time is over.