Category Archives: health

Where NOT to play at Pritchard Park


A recent report on the health risks posed by the Pritchard Park-Wyckoff Superfund site confirms what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been saying for years: the area and its beaches are safe, but not perfectly safe.

The report, which was concluded by the U.S. Department of Health late last month, notes that the park’s forested uplands and most of the west beach, which includes the large stretch of sandy and gravel popular with visitors, are “safe for unlimited normal recreational activities such as hiking, digging, sunbathing, playing ball, etc.”

In other areas, care should be taken – especially for children, who are more easily harmed by the industrial contaminants at the site.

A tidal area of the west beach where sand and rock covers a large plastic sheet should not be disturbed. The sheet separates contaminated sediment below the beach from the clean sand capping the area.

The assessment repeats the EPA warning that children and dogs should not visit the east beach. The east beach is the section of Bill Point that faces Seattle. It is there that toxic creosote is actively seeping from the beach.

“The East Beach is not safe for use by children at this time due to contaminant levels in the
sediment,” the report states.

The report also advises visitors to avoid touching the muddy sediments on Bill Point’s north shoal. The shoal is the tidal section of the beach at the northernmost point of the park directly above the fenced Superfund area.

If you touch the sediments, the report advises hand-washing as a precaution.

I marked the areas of concern in the map above.

You can download a pdf of the report by clicking here.

So, how do you remember where to go and not go next time you visit Pritchard Park?

Speaking only for myself and my family, our general rule of thumb is to keep our shoes on and our hands off the tidal areas. And we steer clear of the east beach (even though it boasts a killer view of the city). Maybe our precautions are a bit much, but considering that the east beach’s contaminants are free-flowing and that the west beach springs creosote leaks from time to time, we figure it’s better to be safe than contaminated.

Senator Rockefeller’s community garden

State Sen. Phil Rockefeller has opened up a piece of his land for community garden use. His is the latest in a recent Bainbridge community garden boom.

In her most recent column, Kitsap Sun garden writer Ann Lovejoy highlights the Bainbridge Democrat and his wife Anita Rockefeller’s effort to link people to island-grown food and each other.

“Our idea was to create a place where people can not just put food on the table, but also connect to the natural world and to the community,” Anita said. “We hope we’ll all learn from each other, becoming better gardeners and finding common interests to share along with the vegetables.”

The Rockefellers brought in sandy loam and compost to make several garden-ready beds on a third of an acre at their Tolo Road property. Th fenced and watered garden includes almost 100 tomato plants to help keep Helpline House supplied through the summer.

Green thumbs of varying shades make up the seven families using the Rockefellers’ garden.

Lovejoy reports that plenty of space is open. To reserve a plot, call (206) 817-0456 or e-mail:

Click here to read Lovejoy’s column, which also explores the overall growth of the island’s community gardens.

Also check out Sound Food’s map of Bainbridge community gardens here.

Sewer spill much larger than initially thought

The Eagle Harbor sewer leak released much more raw sewage than initially thought, according to updated city estimates.

In a report released on Friday, the city estimated that a corroded pipe near the Winslow ferry terminal leaked between 287,000 to 493,000 gallons of untreated sewage last week. Initial estimates were 140,000 gallons.

City public works staff revised the number after concluding that the leak probably started two days earlier than when it was discovered on May 30.

The estimate revision came city staff reviewed the Winslow sewer plant’ daily flow records over the 15 days before, during and after the leak.

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Eagle Harbor’s no-contact advisory ends today

Health officials are lifting the 10-day no-contact advisory for Eagle Harbor and the shorelines between Yeomalt Point and Rockaway Beach.

The advisory was initiated shortly after a sewer pipe on the harbor’s north shore began leaking raw sewage. An estimated 140,000 gallons of sewage seeped out before city work crews fixed the leak on June 2.

Two sets of water quality tests in the harbor show normal levels of bacteria.

“Our two sampling events at Waterfront Park showed no impact from the spill,” Kitsap County Health District water quality specialist John Kiess said today.

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.”

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New poll: How was the city’s response to the Eagle Harbor sewer leak?

Cast your vote on the new poll over to the right. This time, I’m asking readers what they thought of the city’s response to the Eagle Harbor sewer leak.

The corroded sewer pipe leaked an estimated 140,000 gallons of untreated sewage into the harbor from Saturday to early Tuesday morning, when the leak was fixed. Health officials are still advising people to avoid contact with the harbor’s water and tidelands, as well as the shore from Yeomalt Point to Rockaway Beach.

You can find the results from the last poll (“What’s the main reason voters chose the council-manager government?”) below. Seventy-nine people responded. Dissatisfaction with Mayor Darlene Kordonowy was cited overwhelmingly as the reason islanders changed the city’s form of government.

1. 48 percent: Dissatisfaction with Mayor Darlene Kordonowy (38 Votes)
2. 29 percent: A desire for a more efficient and cost-effective City Hall (23 Votes)
3. 9 percent: City staff exercise too much power (7 Votes)
4. 8 percent: The mayor position had too much power (6 Votes)
5. 5 percent: Citizens want more say at City Hall (4 Votes)
6. 1 percent: Most cities of BI’s size have council-manager governments (1 Vote)

City criticized for slow, incomplete response to sewer spill

City Council members on Monday questioned whether the city’s response to the Eagle Harbor sewer leak was too slow and not comprehensive enough to ensure the health and safety of people and the environment.

Councilwoman Kim Brackett, who visited the leak site near the Winslow ferry terminal shortly after it was identified on Saturday, was unimpressed with the city’s efforts to protect the marine ecosystem and clean the beach of solid waste.

“This is a very significant environmental issue for the health of Puget Sound,” she said during a council Public Works Committee meeting. “Was there an effort to capture (the waste) and pickup the tissue paper sitting on the beach? I was a little stunned to not see anybody there to clean it up.”

The corroded, 32-year-old pipe blamed for the leak, which spilled an estimated 140,000 gallons of sewage into the harbor, was repaired Tuesday morning. Public works crews had installed a temporary band on the pipe on Sunday, after about 70,000 gallons of solid and liquid waste flowed freely into the harbor. The band halted the flow of solids but not liquid effluent, allowing an additional 70,000 gallons of sewer water to escape.

Assistant Public Works Director Lance Newkirk said high tides delayed repair work until early Tuesday morning, when an extremely low tide was expected.

Responding to Brackett, Newkirk declined to assess the city’s response to the spill.

“I’m not prepared to comment on how well – or not well – we did,” he said.

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Sewer leak fixed early Tuesday morning

City public work crews stopped the three-day flow of raw sewage into Eagle Harbor early Tuesday morning.

Crews spent about 90 minutes installing a rubberized metal collar around a corroded section that began leaking on Saturday. The repair was completed during low tide at approximately 6:30 a.m. The pipe was tested and the sewer system was brought back to normal functioning by 7 a.m.

“We were fortunate,” said Lance Newkirk, assistant director of the city’s public works department. “We had a backup strategy with a three-hour repair cycle. But the (faster) strategy is the one that worked.”

Newkirk said additional cracking or other damage would have required crews to replace a section of the pipe. Crews had waited until Tuesday morning because a extreme low tide was predicted, and would have allowed time for the more complex fix.

The pipe, which runs under the beach about a quarter mile east of the Winslow ferry terminal, is estimated to have released 140,000 gallons of sewage. It carries most of the Winslow area’s sewage to the downtown treatment plant on Hawley Way.

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

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.

Islanders challenged to cut energy use by 4 percent

An effort is afoot to encourage islanders to reduce their energy consumption by 4 percent. The reduction would likely offset the need for a proposed Puget Sound Energy substation.

“Is it a challenge? Yes,” City Councilwoman Hilary Franz said. “But there are a number of things lining up that make me think we can do it.”

Read Kitsap Sun environmental reporter Christopher Dunagan’s coverage of the island’s energy reduction challenge here.

A meeting to discuss the idea is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at Bainbridge Commons, 370 Brien Drive.

Marshall: The two-footed Bainbridge experience


Bainbridge Islander columnist Becky Fox Marshall writes this week about the new perspective that can be had by strolling through familiar places. Read her column below…

If you were to look up the word “inertia” in the dictionary, you would see my picture, followed by the definition as provided by physics: The tendency of a body to resist acceleration… of a body at rest to remain at rest.

And resist acceleration I did, at least for the last few years. Until the immovable object I had become met an irresistible force and the paradox of my paradigm was blown to bits. In other words, my doctor warned me I was eight weeks and one blood test from an official diagnosis of type II diabetes.

So I got up and and started walking.

Three months later I’m hooked. My blood work is all in the optimal range. But beyond dodging the diabetes bullet, I have benefited through the discovery of an entire world out there.

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Peanuts recall at Town & Country Market

Six peanut products and self-grind peanut butter sold at Town & Country and other Central Market-owned stores in the Puget Sound area have been recalled due to the risk of salmonella, according to an Associated Press report.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the products were made with peanuts recalled nationally by the Peanut Corp. of America because of contamination.

Products sold at Central Market stores include roasted and raw peanuts and trail mix sold in bulk, plus self-grind peanut butter. No illnesses have been reported in connection with these products.

Two Central Market stores are located in Seattle and one each at Bainbridge Island, Shoreline, Mill Creek and Poulsbo.