An equipment failure at King County’s West Point Treatment Plant caused millions of gallons of raw sewage to flow into Puget Sound early Thursday.
KIRO News reported that high tides and heavy rain caused a shutdown around 2 a.m. Thursday at the plant near Discovery Park in Seattle.
The plant is operating on an “emergency bypass mode,” which means untreated sewage is being discharged offshore and about 240 feet deep in Puget Sound, according to the report. Crews are working to restore operations.
The plant treats wastewater in Seattle, Shoreline, north Lake Washington, north King County and south Snohomish County.
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A King County spokesperson said the sewage is gushing into Puget Sound at a rate of 440 million gallons every 24 hours, and the equipment malfunction has been described as a “major emergency” that’s under investigation, according to KOMO News.
Signs have been posted at Discovery Park that warn the public to stay out of the water for at least two days until the bacteria from the untreated sewage dies.