Thurston County officials say a sewage treatment plant at Grand Mound has been releasing effluent with elevated pollutant levels into the Chehalis River.
But health officials believe there is little risk for the public because there are no public beaches or access points in that area, and the river is typically not used for recreation this time of the year. They also say there’s no risk to water wells in the area.
“The risk for the public is low in this situation, but we wanted to make citizens aware out of an abundance of caution,” Art Starry, director of the county’s Environmental Health Division said in a news release. “However, people should avoid contact with the river water immediately downstream from the outfall near (the former) Maple Lane School until the situation is resolved.”
County officials are investigating what appears to be higher than normal acidity in the wastewater that’s coming into the plant. The acidity, or higher pH levels, can interfere with the wastewater treatment process, officials say.
“We are working closely with the Department of Ecology on this matter and have hired consultants to determine the source of the problem and the solution,” Thurston County operations manager Scott Schimelfenig said in a news release. “We expect to have the proper treatment balance and bring the plant back to regular operations quickly.”