Thanks to favorable water quality tests, two Seattle beaches that had been closed to the public following emergency bypasses of stormwater and wastewater from the West Point Treatment Plant earlier this month are now open. The forecast for only light rain showers for the remainder of the week means there should be no need for additional emergency bypasses during that time from the treatment plant, where restoration work continues around the clock.
Puget Sound beaches at Discovery and Golden Gardens parks in Seattle that had been closed following emergency bypasses of stormwater and wastewater from the West Point Treatment Plant last week are once again open to the public after water quality test results show no threat to public health.
Improving weather that is expected for the next several days indicate no additional emergency bypasses will be necessary from the treatment plant, where crews working 24 hours a day at maximum staffing levels continue making progress on restoring this critical component of King County’s clean-water infrastructure.
The plant, which suffered an equipment failure early on Feb. 9 during a period of record rainfall, currently has capacity to provide limited wastewater treatment of 250 million gallons per day – nearly double the amount needed to treat an average day this time of year, but well below the plant’s designed capacity of 450 million gallons per day.
The plant continues providing wastewater treatment that includes screening, some solids settling and disinfection. This treated wastewater is being discharged through the plant’s deepwater outfall, which is roughly three-quarters of a mile offshore on the bottom of Puget Sound where currents provide continuous dilution.
No emergency bypasses of highly diluted stormwater and wastewater have occurred at the plant since early on Feb. 16.
Progress report for Feb. 21:
Employee safety is the top priority, and crews follow rigorous safety protocols that King County has put in place to ensure worker safety. Work is being done carefully and methodically.
• Crews have cleaned and sanitized about 95 percent of the treatment plant, and this work should be completed by Wednesday, Feb. 22. Electrical and mechanical workers have been entering cleaned and sanitized areas as they come available to assess damage, and restore or replace damaged equipment.
• Employees and contractors continue working on electrical and mechanical systems, including removing and rehabilitating pump motors, in cleaned areas of the plant. About 50 percent of this work has been completed.
• Workers continue cleaning and dewatering electrical conduits throughout the plant, and additional equipment has been brought in to help dry wet areas.
• King County engineers are working on the design and replacement of electrical panels, and consulting engineers are assisting in electrical restoration throughout the plant.
The current weather forecast through the end of the workweek calls for scattered showers and low precipitation totals that are well below the 24-hour rainfall threshold that might trigger an emergency bypass.
West Point currently has capacity of providing limited wastewater treatment to roughly 250 million gallons per day. This is nearly twice the capacity needed to safely treat all of the stormwater and wastewater the plant receives on an average day for this time of year.
Rainfall amounts of one inch or more during a 24-hour period in Seattle could lead to an emergency bypass of highly diluted stormwater and wastewater from the West Point plant.
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