Monthly Archives: May 2009

UPDATED: Corroded pipe leaking raw sewage into Eagle Harbor

Over 105,000 gallons of raw sewage has spilled into Eagle Harbor from a corroded pipe near the Winslow ferry terminal.

A total of 140,000 gallons is expected to flow into the harbor before work crews can fix the leak, said Lance Newkirk, assistant director of the city’s public works department.

Health officials issued a no-contact advisory for all of the harbor and the seven miles of shoreline between Yeomalt Point and Rockaway Beach on the island’s east side. Residents are asked to not touch the water or low tide areas for 10 days.

“We haven’t seen a big (pipe) break like this in a while,” said Kitsap County Health District water quality specialist Jim Zimny.

The pipe carries much of the Winslow area’s sewage to the treatment plant on Hawley Way.

High tides are expected to delay a full repair until Tuesday. The beach surrounding the immediate spill area has been cordoned off and a temporary metal band was installed over the pipe’s ruptured areas.

“It’s like a Band-Aid that’s preventing the solid content from going into the bay,” Newkirk said. “We’re now at a stable point and are just waiting for a favorable tide to make the permanent fix.”

The city is employing six pump trucks at various locations north and east of Winslow to draw out sewer water before it reaches the damaged area.

The pipe is the main line carrying sewage from the Winslow area west of Highway 305 and south of Murden Cove. About three-fifths of the Winslow sewer plant’s liquid effluent flows through the pipe, Newkirk said.

City officials are asking residents to curb their water and sewer usage until Tuesday afternoon.

“We want to reduce the flow, so any delay in water usage – from washing clothes to taking showers – will help,” Newkirk said.

Sewage was flowing freely from the rusty pipe into a murky trench on Monday morning. Toilet paper and other solids were scattered nearby.

“It was a lot more pungent on Saturday,” said John Anderson, whose Irene Place home sits directly in front of the ruptured pipe. “And it was bubbling pretty dramatically through the tide.”

Corrosion on the 32-year-old pipe’s is blamed for the leak.

“We didn’t see any external factors,” Newkirk said. “It really was the pipe’s age.”

The leak was reported to the city at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Tides delayed the city’s response until 5 a.m. on Sunday. Unexpected additional corroded areas also complicated the repair efforts.

Health officials are concerned that warm weather and clear skies may draw many people to the contaminated beaches and water.

“The timings bad,” Zimny said. “If this was in winter, less people would be attracted to the beach.”

Sunlight may help “disinfect” the contaminated water by killing bacteria in a matter of hours. However, the continued sewer flow means surrounding waters will remain a health risk, Zimny said.

While ruptures like the one in Eagle Harbor are rare, larger amounts of sewage have poured into Kitsap waters in recent years. Power outages during winter storms in 2007 caused millions of gallons of effluent to seep from several sewer treatment plants, Zimny said.

Strawberry fields forever?

Sound Food photo
Sound Food photo
Sound Foods has a new post about an island school’s work to revive the Marshall strawberry.

The Marshall once dominated the island’s farming landscape and fueled the island’s economy.

“Then they almost disappeared,” writes Sound Food’s Carolyn Goodwin. “Not just from Bainbridge Island, but altogether. Marshall Strawberries have been listed as one of the 10 most endangered food plants in the U.S. But thanks in part to the efforts of some hardworking kids at Bainbridge Island’s Voyager Montessori Elementary School the Bainbridge Island Marshall strawberry will grace the dessert plates of at least one more generation.”

The Marshall fell out of favor in the 1960s as the marketplace began demanding berries that could better withstand shipping and storage, and were easier to grow.

Read the full post here.

And click here to see my story from back in September about the Bainbridge Historical Museum’s quiet dedication the Marshall.

“One team, one island, one goal”

baseballoneteamoneislandbannerThe Bainbridge High School baseball team is two wins away from its first state championship.

“Absolutely, it’s been a total community effort,” coach Jayson Gore told Sun sports reporter Terry Mosher. “It has been for (at least) 10 years. Just everybody has helped out. Our kids help out, parents, parents in the past, kids in the past keep coming back. They all want to see the program going in the right direction.”

The team wears custom T-shirts depicting the island with an arrow pointing toward Safeco Field. That’s where the Spartans play today at 1 p.m. against top-ranked Timberline High School.

Read more about the team’s final push for the title here.

UPDATED: Kordonowy confirms new role as 8th council member

Wednesday night’s City Council meeting was Darlene Kordonowy’s last as mayor of Bainbridge Island.

Next week, she’ll return to the dais as the council’s eighth member, Kordonowy announced at the meeting.

“It’s a very important time and transition for the city, and I know I can help make a difference,” she said.

A large majority of islanders voted on May 19 to eliminate the mayor’s office and turn over administrative duties to a city manager directed by the council. State law allows a mayor to become a temporary council member if a change-of-government happens during the mayor’s term.

Kordonowy had considered not taking on the new role, noting that many islanders voted for a council-manager government in an effort to remove her.

But her supporters urged her to reconsider, she said.

“I would have been giving up my voice and important representation for the community, and that didn’t feel right,” she said.

Kordonowy’s council term ends Jan. 1, the same day her mayoral term would have ended.

Her decision elicited mixed responses from the council.

“I’m very disappointed Darlene chose to sit on the council,” Councilman Bill Knobloch said. “I hope she will reconsider.”

The nearly 70 percent approval of the change-of-government measure is a clear message that islanders want big changes at City Hall, he said.

“They no longer accept what happened in the past and want change,” Knobloch said. “Does Darlene sitting on the council (match) that message? I think not.”

“I think the subtle implication is that there will be a continued attempt at business-as-usual, and that has a negative effect on the community.”

Council Chair Kjell Stoknes, who supported the change-of-government measure, said Kordonowy’s presence won’t have much impact.

“I see no problems,” he said. “She’s not in a position where she can control how the city operates.”

Kordonowy’s position on key issues usually matches that of the council majority. Future council voting may follow a five-to-three split rather than the typical four-to-three divide.

Stoknes said the council should focus less on Kordonowy and more on the work of transitioning to a new government.

“We’ve got to get over ourselves,” he said. “All of us have the best interests of the city in mind. Let’s try to be nice to each other while we do our business.”

The new form of government goes into effect when the election is certified on June 3. The council is expected to formally adopt the council-manager system on June 10 and appoint a ceremonial mayor from its ranks on June 17.
The council plans to appoint a ceremonial mayor on June 17.

Historic Bainbridge house makes annual “endangered” list

The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation named the century-old house at 216 Ericksen Avenue to its “Most Endangered Historic Properties of 2009” list.

You can read my story and a related debate in the comments section by clicking here.

If you’re interested in seeing the trust’s complete list (which also includes the P-I globe), visit the trust’s site here.

Elections update: School bond trailing by just 65 votes

The Bainbridge Island School District’s capital facilities bond was 65 votes shy of passing, according to the Kitsap County Auditor’s elections update today.

Approval of the $42 million bond edged up slightly to 59.73 percent of the vote, auditor elections officials reported today at 4 p.m. The measure needs 60 percent to pass.

Military and overseas ballots continue to trickle in. The auditor’s elections office received and counted 29 overseas ballots today, and a few more are expected in the coming days.

Elections officials said 77 Bainbridge ballots are undergoing review before they’re counted. Most have signature discrepancies.

Elections supervisor Dolores Gilmore doubted the few remaining votes will turn the election.

“It’s hard to tell when there’s just a handful,” she said. “It would have to be a lot (of ‘yes’ votes). I don’t know if there’s enough left.”

The auditor’s office will release its next elections update on Friday.

At last count, the island’s change-of-government measure was holding on to a decisive win with 69.7 percent of the vote.

Police blotter: Woman catches a “young and cute” thief in the act

A Bainbridge woman didn’t let a would-be thief’s apparent good looks dissuade her from a confrontation. Noticing the “young and cute” man rummaging though a suitcase near a car with a busted window, the woman stepped up and began asking questions. The beauteous bandit responded honestly, flipped his wavy locks to the side and fled the scene.

Also this week, the island’s Buddhist temple experienced reported some strange phenomena. Furniture was mysteriously moved, the fridge was unplugged, lanterns were broken and sand rained down from above. Who you gonna call? Crazy Neighbor Busters. Turns out the church’s neighbor was, according to police, suffering from mental health issues and making unwanted visits to the temple.

Read on for the rest…

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Video of the Virginia V

The Sun produced a short video of Mosquito Fleet survivor Virginia V’s visit to South Kitsap last week. You can find a related story and photo gallery here.

The Virginia V makes a regular stop on the island for an annual summertime Bainbridge Island Historical Museum fundraiser.

I went on last year’s four-hour excursion. The boat was loaded with island history buffs and a few BI newbies who wanted to get to know their island better. Historian Andy Price and former Washington secretary of state (and island son) Ralph Munro MC’d the tour.

Click here for my story about last year’s trip.

And click here for a blog post of extras I couldn’t fit into the story.

The next trip is July 26. It sold out last year, so make sure to call the museum at (206) 842-2773 to make a reservation.