Thurston County health officials are urging the public to avoid all water contact activities in lower Budd Inlet for seven days following a spill of raw sewage into the West Bay area of the inlet Thursday afternoon.
Nearly 33,000 gallons of raw sewage flowed into the bay and another 22,500 gallons spilled on the ground after a City of Olympia sewer line ruptured near the city’s West Bay pump station, city water resources official Andy Haub said.
The sewage, which was mixed with groundwater and stormwater flowed for about 90 minutes between noon and 5 p.m., Thursday. Once it was discovered, city crews repaired the sewer line and cleaned up the immediate area.
The water contact advisory includes the area south of a line drawn between Priest Point Park on the east shore and West Bay Marina on the west shore.
There is already an advisory in effect against shellfish harvesting and water contact recreation in this area, health officials said.
A larger than normal Deschutes River flow and large tidal exchange should help flush and dilute the wastewater, county senior environmental health specialist Sue Davis.
In addition, the pathogens and bacteria present in raw sewage have a shorter lifespan in saltwater than in fresh water, she said.