SEATTLE — An operating error caused less than 15,000 gallons of wastewater to spill into Puget Sound early Wednesday morning.
The error happened shortly after 1 a.m. during routine testing at the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle, according to King County’s Wastewater Treatment Division. An emergency bypass gate opened for three minutes, allowing the overflow to spill, KING5 News reported.
The public is advised to avoid contact with the water at Discovery Park, which is near the sewage spill. The beach near the treatment plant is closed pending water quality results, and Public Health — Seattle & King County issued a no water contact advisory, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology.
King County employees collected water samples Wednesday morning and posted signs near the outfall pipe, according to the county.
Contact with fecal-contaminated water can result in illnesses like gastroenteritis, skin rashes and upper respiratory infections, according to the ecology department.
King County Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles praised the treatment division for their fast action to stop the spill.
“I’m disheartened to learn that an accident at the West Point Treatment Plant has caused yet another discharge of raw sewage into the Salish Sea,” she said in a press release. “Fortunately, the discharge could have been a lot worse but, unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened, and it may not be the last.