Power outages cause massive wastewater spill into Puget Sound, Lake Washington

King County estimates millions gallons of untreated wastewater overflowed into surrounding waters.

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

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

Power outages last week caused a few of King County’s wastewater treatment facilities to spill more than 10 million gallons of untreated overflow into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington, according to the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks.

An early morning windstorm on Jan. 13 brought excessive rainfall and wind gusts over 50 mph in some places, leading to regional flooding and power outages for hundreds of thousands of Western Washington residents.

According to the department, a combination of pump station failures caused by power outages and increased rainwater runoff created flooding overflows at the West Point Treatment Plant, Richmond Beach Pump Station, East Pine Pump Station and Medina Pump Station.

While field operators worked to get the pumps running consistently, operators were able to mitigate the amount of the overflow by controlling the partial closing of the emergency bypass gate, according to the department.

King County estimated that approximately 20% of the more than 10 million gallons of untreated water that overflowed into the Puget Sound and Lake Washington was sewage, and 80% was stormwater.

Initially, King County closed a handful of beaches including Richmond, Medina, Golden Gardens, Carkeek and Madrona beaches out of caution. The county announced on Jan. 16 that consecutive days of water quality testing revealed the beaches to be safe. Discovery Park was reopened on Jan. 18.

King County has notified public health and regulatory agencies, according to the press release, and has posted signs at beaches warning people to avoid contact with the water over the next several days as a precaution to protect public health.




In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

file photo
Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

Screenshot taken from Rosa Parks Elementary School website.
Eastside school wins National Blue Ribbon honor

Rosa Parks Elementary School in Redmond is the only Washington school to win.

Matt Laase
Snoqualmie City Councilmember Matt Laase seeks re-election in Pos. 5 seat

Q&A: Laase talks about his priorities and plans if elected.

Photo courtesy of Tanya Lavoy
Tanya Lavoy.
Newcomer Tanya Lavoy seeks Pos. 5 seat on Snoqualmie City Council

Q&A: Lavoy discusses her priorities and plans if elected.

Screenshot taken of a King County video showing Wilburton Trestle
King County’s Eastside to receive major multi-modal transportation investment

Private and public investors will help build a regional biking and walking trail to mitigate traffic

Co-owners Sarah Cassidy and Luke Woodward stand in front of The Grange (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Co-owners Sarah Cassidy and Luke Woodward stand in front of The Grange (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
How a King County restaurant and farm work together to make a true farm-to-table experience

The Grange prepares sustainably produced meals pulled from the soil of the Snoqualmie Valley.

NW Carpenters Union members strike in front of downtown Bellevue construction site (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike interupts some prominent Eastside construction projects

Union representative says members are prepared to strike “as long as it takes.”

Map of proposed landfill expansion sites (screenshot from King County website)
Waste management expert knocks county’s plan to expand landfill

The waste management advocate said the decision to expand seems pre-determined despite assessment.

Most Read