PORT ANGELES — A power surge caused about 87,000 gallons of partially-treated wastewater to spill into Port Angeles Harbor on Tuesday, city officials confirmed Thursday.
Clallam County Environmental Health Director Jennifer Garcelon said there were no closures related to the spill.
Several tree limbs fell onto power distribution lines that serve the city’s wastewater treatment plant at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to a city announcement.
A component in the backup system failed to activate, causing partially treated, non-chlorinated wastewater to spill to into the harbor.
Crews responded to the spill within 45 minutes and had restored operations within two hours, Port Angeles Public Works and Utilities Director Thomas Hunter said Thursday.
“It’s kind of odd because we’ve never experienced this kind of a failure before where we had a power event and the backup system didn’t activate the way that it should have,” Hunter said in a telephone interview.
“We’ve already fixed the part that failed this time.”
After inspecting all emergency components, crews will conduct a planned shutdown of the wastewater treatment plant to ensure that the back-up systems function as they were designed, Hunter said.
Hunter added that the component that failed was part of the original treatment plant and not related to the $47 million combined sewer overflow project, which has prevented raw sewage from spilling into the harbor since it was completed in 2016.
The wastewater that spilled into the harbor Tuesday had received a primary treatment but had not gone through a secondary treatment or chlorination, the city announcement said.
The state departments of Ecology and Health, Clallam County Environmental Health and Feiro Marine Life Center were notified.
“I’m really glad that we were able to diagnose the issue and respond quickly,” Hunter said.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.