By Debra Smith Herald Writer
EVERETT — The water in a south Everett stream inundated by raw sewage earlier this month is just about back to normal, according to water quality tests.
The city is tallying up what the spill cost. The best guess by the public works director: $250,000.
An estimated 1 million gallons of sewage flowed into North Creek after a pipe ruptured April 12 near the 11800 block of Silver Way.
That’s considered a major spill by the state.
The city doesn’t know what caused the pipe to break, public works director Dave Davis said.
In the past few years, the same section of pipe leaked at least twice. The city had made plans to replace it before this month’s spill happened.
The city plans to replace 1,000 feet of pipe in that area sometime later this year.
The iron pipe that ruptured was about 30 years old — pipes typically last decades longer.
The damaged pipe is being tested, but city workers noted it contained wear unusual for its age, Davis said.
On April 12, Everett public works crews swarmed to the spill scene to shut off a nearby lift station, repair the broken line and stack sandbags.
The flow of raw sewage proved difficult to stop. The 20-inch line that ruptured is upstream of a lift station, which pumps sewage up the pipe.
Even though crews quickly shut down the station, they had to wait several hours for a length of pipe stretching roughly two miles to drain.
They also had to figure out what to do with sewage still flowing into the lift station.
The city sent its Vactor trucks and a parade of private septic trucks to haul sewage coming into the lift station.
They also diverted sewage coming into the lift station to another section of the sewer system.
“We went through a tremendous amount of effort to minimize the amount of sewage that went into North Creek,” Davis said.
He estimates those efforts kept 1 million gallons of sewage out of the creek.
Still, the river of sewage flowed across one man’s yard and through the crawl space of his house before entering the creek.
In addition to paying for the pipe repair, the city must reimburse the property owner for damage to his home and the cost of replacing sod in his front yard, Davis said.
They’re also paying for him to stay in a hotel during the cleanup.
Workers have walked alongside the creek removing items that end up in the sewer system besides human waste.
Reporter Debra Smith: 425-339-3197 or firstname.lastname@example.org