Saturday, May 4, 2013

68K gallons of sewage spills into Washington state's 2nd largest natural lake

68K gallons of sewage spills into Washington state's 2nd largest natural lake, The second largest natural lake in Washington state has been polluted with tens of thousands of gallons of sewage, prompting the closure of a popular Seattle area beach.

KIRO-TV reported that an estimated 68,000 gallons of wastewater discharged for about an hour through an emergency outfall, which prevents backups of raw sewage into homes and businesses, into Lake Washington near Kirkland's Marina Park on Thursday (May 2).

The overflow is said to have occurred as a result of an unusual combination of circumstances when a transmitter failed to signal two of the station’s pumps to begin operating. A third pump that normally engages when water levels rise experienced a clutch failure.

Environmental officials say the beach will remain closed through the weekend as they conduct daily test of the waters. It takes 24 hours for those test results to come back and they need two straight days of clean readings to open the beach. The results of the test are not likely to be available until at least Monday.

Crews will also be working to clean up trash and visible material deposited into the lake.

This is the third failure in just the last four years at the Kirkland station. Three years ago (2010), 25,000 gallons spilled into the lake. Another sewage spill occurred a year later in 2011 with 8,000 gallons spilling into the lake, according to KIRO-TV.

King County officials said the Kirkland station has been operating for more than 40 years and aging equipment needs to be replaced. They hope a $2 million upgrade scheduled for later this year will keep the sewage spills from occurring, and keep the area beach open.

Lake Washington is a large freshwater lake that borders the cities of Seattle on the west, Bellevue and Kirkland on the east, Renton on the south and Kenmore on the north. The lake is fed by the Sammamish River at its north end and the Cedar River at its south.

It is the second largest natural lake in the state of Washington, after Lake Chelan.

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