Sewage monitor OKs Lake Washington beaches for swimming

Aug 29, 2022, 11:25 AM | Updated: 1:05 pm
The beaches of Lake Washington (Michael Seeley via Flickr)
(Michael Seeley via Flickr)

King County has reopened beaches between Madrona Beach and Howell Park along Lake Washington. Last week, a malfunctioning waste treatment pump spilled sewage, closing the beaches.

The East Pine Street Pump Station malfunctioned after a utility power outage, causing equipment shutdown and an overflow of sewage into Lake Washington, contaminating the water near the beaches and possibly making them unsafe for swimming. “Out of an abundance of caution,” King County Parks closed the beaches to swimmers.

Fewer Lake Washington beaches closed so far this year

Marie Fiore, with Wastewater Treatment Division, said that the malfunction was caused by a sensor that is being replaced, and the generator was only out of operation for 44 minutes before crews were able to fix it.

“King County has an emergency generator at the East Pine Pump Station that failed to start right away due to a faulty engine coolant level sensor,” Fiore said. “We are replacing the sensor, so the generator can now start and operate as designed.”

After staff monitored the water, it was determined Aug. 25 that the beaches were safe again to be reopened.

This is unrelated to closures at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Matthews Beach, Meydenbauer Bay, and Newcastle Beach, which remain closed as the result of naturally occurring bacteria.

The City of Seattle had already closed Madrona Beach to swimming for the season because of a lifeguard shortage.

Daniel Nidzgorski, an ecologist with the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, said that the likely culprit of the naturally occurring bacteria is water fowl that are spending time at the beaches.

“The bacteria we test for can come from any warm-blooded animal, from humans to dogs to birds,” Nidzgorski said. “It is by looking at the data from testers who visit the beach to check the water that we have a reason to believe that the most likely source of the e. Coli bacteria that is shutting down beaches is ducks and geese, as we have not detected high amounts of dog or human poop.”

Nidzgorski said that the best way to prevent closures is to stop feeding the ducks.

“More food means more ducks, which means more poop, which means more closures,” Nidzgorski said.

This summer, there have been 10 closures among seven beaches on Lake Washington. Last year, there were a total of 16 closures, and in 2019, there were 21 closures. Closures tend to last a couple of weeks, on average.

Local News

Ted Buehner

Dry summers delay changes in leaves, but brilliant autumn colors around the corner

This sunny dry weather is expected to continue through Columbus Day Weekend, providing more unseasonably warm weather for enjoying fall hues.
1 day ago
Hanna Scott

No timeline for Office of Independent Investigations use of force cases to begin

“The new Office of Independent Investigation will increase transparency and trust in investigations of deadly uses of force by law enforcement."
1 day ago
Nicole Jennings

The drought is over! Mariners fans are ready for postseason baseball

With playoffs closer than ever, Mariners fans await tonight's results with baited breath
1 day ago
Hanna Scott

Report discovers troubling gap between BIPOC, white homeowners in Washington state

More than 143,000 BIPOC households would need to become homeowners to close the gap between white and BIPOC households in Washington.
1 day ago
Sam Campbell

Edmonds high school student arrested for bringing ‘ghost gun’ to school

Edmonds Police Department (EDP) thanking the vigilance of one student who they say spoke up when they knew a fellow 15-year-old student brought a loaded gun to class at Edmonds-Woodway High School Thursday.
1 day ago
Photo from KIRO 7...
KIRO 7 News Staff

Olympia woman facing fines over ‘Black Lives Matter’ sign inside her home

An Olympia woman is being threatened with fines over a sign hanging inside her home.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Sewage monitor OKs Lake Washington beaches for swimming