Water tests hint that Eagle Harbor is recovering from sewer spill

Initial water quality testing conducted after the sewer leak in Eagle Harbor show very low levels of contamination.

“The bacteria levels are extremely low, and almost consistent with normal levels,” Kitsap County Health District water quality specialist John Kiess said on Wednesday.

Three water samples taken on Monday from Waterfront Park on Eagle Harbor show bacteria levels that are at or slightly below the typical level for marine waters.

Kiess said it is difficult to determine why the harbor may have recovered so quickly after an estimated 140,000 gallons of untreated sewage escaped from a corroded pipe between Saturday and Tuesday.

Tides and currents may have played a role, but the harbor has a low level of water recirculation due to it’s slender shape.

“It’s a closed harbor – long and skinny,” Kiess said. “It doesn’t exchange water real well with the larger body.”

Sunny skies may have played a larger role by “disinfecting” the water with ultraviolet light, health district officials said.

“Bacteria doesn’t survive well,” Kiess said. “Natural conditions tend to destroy it. That’s the beauty of it.”

Despite promising signs of a full recovery, the health district is maintaining its no-contact advisory for the harbor and beaches from Yeomalt Point to Rockaway Beach until next week.

The health district plans to conduct more tests to make a final determination on the harbor’s water quality. A second series of tests are scheduled for Monday.

“We just have one set of samples,” Kiess said. “We could take more tomorrow and those could be high. One point in time does not indicate a trend.”

One thought on “Water tests hint that Eagle Harbor is recovering from sewer spill

  1. Signs of a full recovery? Eagle Harbor, I believe, is still considered one of the most toxically polluted bodies of water in the whole country.I could be wrong about this, but I don’t remember any real solution to the creosote problem from the old plant. Creosote does not go away easily. Anyone who would eat anything out of the harbor, pre-spill or otherwise, is either woefully uninformed or awfully hungry.Just because you can see the bottom and there are living creatures about, does not mean that it is clean.

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