Port Townsend North Beach sewage pipe break repaired

PORT TOWNSEND — A broken pipe at North Beach that was leaking treated sewage into the Strait of Juan de Fuca was repaired today, according to City Manager David Timmons.

John Merchant, Port Townsend’s operations manager for storm water and sewer, has said that the pipe break discovered Tuesday allowed water that should go out to sea at about 900 feet to be released at the water line.

“It’s pretty clean water,” he said. “It’s already been processed.”

Treated sewage contains a low level of bacteria but some health risk remained until repair was completed, according to a county news release.

Jefferson County Public Health had issued a “no contact” health advisory for the area, which requests that the public avoid any direct contact with the water at North Beach, including surfing, swimming, boating fishing and the harvesting of shellfish and seaweed.

As of this morning, there was no notice that the alert was canceled. The area is not quarantined.

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

The repair 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.

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