26 million gallon sewage spill into Puget Sound the over Thanksgiving weekend.

King TV reported today that the City of  Everett overflowed a mixture of storm water and untreated sewage into the Snohomish River. The city public works director indicated that they dumped an estimated 25 million gallons over a period of 2 hours due to their inability to handle the flow created by the rain storm. During that same storm, the City of Bremerton dumped 700,000 gallons of combined stormwater and sewage into Sinclair inlet and the Port Washington Narrows according to the Kitsap Sun.

The Washington State Department of Ecology spill response website for oil and hazardous waste “current incident” section was last updated in May 2010. Does DOE really believe that runoff from shoreline homeowners’ lawns is more important than city utility spills and storm water runoff?

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2 responses to “26 million gallon sewage spill into Puget Sound the over Thanksgiving weekend.

  1. When the government is responsible for spills and pollution it’s a different story. They believe are doing so much good for the environment, that a small step backward now and then is to be expected — and hopefully the public will understand. After all, it really isn’t their fault. They would have you believe that if they had been given more money to upgrade their treatment plants, this wouldn’t have happened.

    On the other hand, government (at the behest of activists) believes that industry and individual property owners simply don’t have the incentive or the knowledge to protect the environment, and they must be micromanaged and controlled at every step if we are to save critical ecosystems such as Puget Sound.

    Can you detect a failure of logic somewhere in this argument?

    Bob Benze
    Environmental Engineer
    Board Member, Kitsap Alliance

    P.S. The actual health effects of raw sewerage spills are minimal. The only real effect is the closure of shellfish beds. I am not aware of cases of illness due to these spills and of only a handful of instances in Washington State history where illness has been traced to failed septic systems.

    P.P.S The old time designers of sewerage plants knew quite a lot and purposely designed CSO (combined sewage overflow) treatment plants to accept both stormwater and sewerage. Even when overloaded with stormwater, the problematic “first flush” was treated, with the subsequent less polluted stormwater overflow diverted.. Today, these combined sewerage plants are being retrofitted to eliminate stormwater (as in Bremerton), but they still seem to somehow get enough stormwater into them to cause a problem. One consequence of these new designs is that the stormwater is not treated — causing Ecology and the Puget Sound Partnership to wring their hands about non-treated stormwater entering the Sound.

  2. Bob,
    You are right when you state different rules for government agencies that pollute. However, if it is a federal agency that gets charged with pollution you can bet that the unelected government agency (EPA) will throw a big fine at them. It means more taxpayer money into the taxpayer funded EPA’s pocket. And they laugh all the way to the bank.

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