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.

11 thoughts on “UPDATED: Corroded pipe leaking raw sewage into Eagle Harbor

  1. Well as I understand it the city just established an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination program intended to finger offenders and levy hefty punishments for those allowing or causing pollutants to enter our waterways. Who would have thought the city would step up and be the first perp to ring the gong . . . that ought to garner about $500,000 in fines payable to who, you guessed it, the city!!

  2. One resident of Murden Cove, who was in Winslow yesterday, said that he hadn’t smelled anything unusual.

  3. We need accountability on this.

    Why did the city not know there was a leak?
    Why didn’t the Kitsap Heath Dept issue an advisory over the weekend?

  4. An iron pipe in salt water for 30 years and it’s already leaking? I’m shocked! Truly shocked!

  5. Well as we know the City, thanks to the Mayor and four wonderful Council people have made so many bad decisions that we have no rainy day fund. The point to be made here is that three Council people with good heads and the ability to think warned the four as they spent and spent on projects that were not key priorities for the voting taxpayers but rather on the fours personal agendas. Now a couple of more unplanned problems like this one and the City will not only be negative position but because of the four and their spending the State might fine the City. Wow and just think we elected these four clowns!

    It is high time the four just resign so there are no further messes for the thinkers to clean up.

  6. There is a short story in today’s Seattle Times about wooden pipes still being used by the City of Seattle’s wastewater utility. Neglecting critical infrastructure in favor of pet projects, studies and interest-groups (etcetera, ad nauseum) is not unique to BI. The whole country needs to get back to business.

    Here’s the link to the Seattle story: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/6420ap_wa_wooden_pipeline.html

  7. Quite the contrary, Nick. I am suggesting everybody quit funding their tangential activities and get back to maintaining core infrastructure and responsibilities. Two wrongs do NOT make a right. Two wrongs make an environmental (and fiscal) mess.

  8. Bluelight-

    Suggest you communicate directly with the four who have their own agenda this point as many of already have to no avail. We are apparently going to continue to spend monies on projects the people taxpayers have said they don’t want it spent on thanks to the ex-mayor and the four.

    At least now we know Stoknes is not running again so there is some hope. Peters is the weakest link and needs to go kite flying vs. trying to implement his own agendas all the time.

  9. This is an outrage! I have read articles about What will this do for camping? Uh..don’t go in the water..How about all the marine animals and fish that this has sickened and perhaps killed? I can’t beleive there was nothing in place to fix it before Tuesday!

  10. Tanya- Agree/ Now the question is what to do to make the City more proactive. Start by helping to remove from the Council Snow, it looks like we have already rid ourselves of two bad actors, the Mayor and Kjell. Now work on getting Hilary and Peters to resign. Then without these five we can hopefully find the add’l 4 people to replace them that have some allegiance to the population they are suppose to represent.

    So we began with 5 targets, now we are down to 3, Snow, Hilary, and Peters.

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