North Beach wastewater pipe fixed in Port Townsend

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A broken pipe at North Beach that was leaking treated sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca has been repaired.

“There were no problems,” said Public Works Director Ken Clow on Friday.

“We just dug it up, plugged the leak and fixed it.”

The pipe, built to carry treated sewage out about 900 feet into the Strait had broken in two places close to the water line at the beach west of Fort Worden State Park, allowing the sewage to flow out close to shore.

One break was fixed Wednesday night and the other Thursday, Clow said.

North Beach — a popular site for hiking, exploring and water sports such as parasailing and, on some occasions, swimming — is considered safe now, said Michael Dawson, water quality lead with Jefferson County Public Health.

Signs posted after the leak was discovered Tuesday that told of a county “no contact” health advisory for the area might not be removed until Monday, Dawson said Friday.

Repairs to the pipe had to be made at low tide. City staff also needed to acquire permits from the state Fish and Wildlife Department and from its own building office.

John Merchant, Port Townsend’s operations manager for stormwater and sewer, said the leak resembled other leaks that took place in 2006 and 2010.

Clow said the pipe will need to be replaced in the next few years and that the city has a long-range plan to do so.

Merchant had estimated that as much as 50 gallons a minute could have spilled into the Strait, depending on tidal conditions.

Treated sewage contains a low level of bacteria, but some health risk was posed by the spill until the repair was made, the county public health department said.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 01. 2014 6:32PM
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