About a half-dozen beaches in King and Kitsap counties reopened Monday after a sewage spill last week forced precautionary closures.
Power failures at the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle resulted in a 3-million-gallon sewage spill into the Puget Sound on Friday, and several beaches were shut down to protect the public from contamination. Seattle’s Discovery Park reopened its north and south beaches, which are adjacent to the wastewater treatment plant, on Monday afternoon, according to a statement from Public Health — Seattle & King County.
Water samples taken from the two Seattle beaches Friday, Saturday and Sunday all came back clean, the statement said.
The spill occurred after backup pumping systems failed during a Seattle City Light power outage, according to King County.
Officials are continuing to investigate the effects of the overflow, but the state has not issued any violations against King County yet, said Heather Bartlett, the water-quality program manager at the state Department of Ecology.
Kitsap Public Health District also sent out advisories warning the public to avoid water contact on the east shore of Bainbridge Island and the Indianola area on Friday, but it lifted them Sunday evening and pulled warning signs from the beaches Monday morning, department spokesman Tad Sooter said.
The closed-off beaches included Fay Bainbridge Park, Indianola Dock, Joel Pritchard Park and Skiff Point, said John Kiess, environmental-health director at Kitsap Public Health District.
Kitsap’s public-health department issued the advisories based on modeling from King County and the state Department of Health that showed there was a small chance the sewage could impact the area’s eastern shoreline, Kiess said.
“But with the amount of sun we have … the ultraviolet light is a great natural disinfectant so it really kills a lot of the bacteria that may be present,” he said. “With Kitsap Public Health, the issue is in the rearview mirror now and hopefully we wont have to deal with that anymore.”
Previously, the Department of Ecology said nine King County beaches were in the process of closing Friday, but Public Health — Seattle & King County confirmed only two were closed during the weekend and the rest remained open. The miscommunication between departments was cleared up Monday.
Several King County beaches — including Matthews Beach in Seattle, Hidden Lake in Shoreline and Newcastle Beach Park in Bellevue — remain closed because of high bacteria levels in the past month, according to the county’s swimming-beach data, which measures bacteria, algal toxin and water temperature. These closures are unrelated to Friday’s sewage spill.
Seattle Times staff reporter Asia Fields contributed to this story.