Report identifies over 17 million gallons of untreated wastewater has been spilled into Puget Sound, Lake Washington in recent years

The document recommends roughly $70 million in facility improvements.

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County

West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle. Photo courtesy of King County

The King County Council’s Regional Water Quality Committee on Wednesday received a key report recommending electrical upgrades, strategies to adjust back-up power and more to prevent future wastewater spills like the failure that led to the spilling of millions of gallons of untreated wastewater into Puget Sound and Lake Washington on January 13, 2021.

The report identified that between the East Pine Pump Station, Medina Pump Station, the Richmond Beach Pump Station and the West Point Treatment Plant, over 17,000,000 gallons of untreated wastewater have been accidentally spilt into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington since May 2017.

Some of the causes cited for the spillovers include power disturbances and failures, increased stormwater levels, and operator error.

According to the report, these wastewater spills can potentially cause ecosystem damage as well as adverse human health impacts due to high levels of dangerous fecal bacteria. Many beach closures have been enacted in the region as a result of some of these spills.

While certain shellfish and fishing areas have been closed down due to “general pollution concerns,” the authors of the report claim that no additional impact to those shellfish resources along the King County shoreline occurred from one of the largest spills in years during the January 12th and 13th discharges which collectively released tens of millions of gallons of wastewater into the marine ecosystems.

The report also claims that these discharges did not cause any long-term ecological damage.

Upgrade recommendations in the report estimate the costs of improving the facilities to cost more than $70 million collectively with increased ongoing maintenance costs as well.

“This is a good step forward to implementing the needed changes to care for our region’s waters, including the Puget Sound,” said King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, who sponsored the report. “It’s important that King County acts as a good steward by taking the steps necessary to prevent wastewater spills, which have been all too common.”


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Halloween decorations on display on D Street. Photo courtesy of D Street Lights.
Take a look at Auburn’s DIY Halloween exhibit:

D Street Lights was created for everyone to enjoy.

Google Images
Racial disparities in bike helmet law forces decision by King County health board

On Oct. 21, the King County Board of Health discussed striking down… Continue reading

Do you need to pay for your COVID hospital stay?

Washington state law requires hospitals to provide free care for certain income brackets.

Valley Regional Fire Authority truck. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing
VRFA loses seven firefighters over vaccine mandate

Services aren’t expected to be affected by the personnel loss.

An Axon body-worn police camera. Courtesy photo
Auburn approves contract for police body cameras and Tasers

The new equipment will cost over $2.2 million.

Geographic dispersion of Washington State Patrol commissioned personnel who lost their jobs Oct. 18. (Washington State Patrol)
Rather than get vaccine, nearly 1,900 state workers lose jobs

Exactly how many people will be out of work for ignoring Gov.… Continue reading

King County Courthouse adjacent to City Hall Park (courtesy of City of Seattle)
County council votes to take dangerous park out of Seattle’s hands

City Hall Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Seattle, has had multiple reports of crime.

Most Read