A leaking sewage pipe was discovered at the Steilacoom ferry dock months ago. The man who found it said he tried to get it fixed, but was ignored.
Workers at the Steilacoom Ferry Terminal smelled something wrong last week under the dock. An inspection found the sewer pipe under the newly remodeled terminal was leaking raw sewage. It was a slow drip but enough for them to immediately close the terminal's restrooms, bring in the portable toilets and hire a contractor to fix the leak.
It was a quick response to a problem that was actually noticed several months ago. A worker from an outside company, who chooses not to be identified, sent KING 5 a note and link to a video he shot after he smelled sewage under the dock back in February. He said he reported the leak to the Pierce County website months ago.
The video shows steady leaks coming out of the pipe. Public Works officials say it looks worse than it is because sea water gets trapped in the pipe's outer layer and drains out at low tide. They also say they never received the report from the worker and if they had, they would have made a timely response just like they did last week.
The leak probably didn't cause any lasting environmental problems but it was not welcome news to the recreational crab fishermen who have been casting their pots from the pier just a dozen yards away. Some say they would have appreciated some kind of posting warning of the spill.
Frank DiBiase, Assistant Division Director, Environmental Health, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, said his department was also notified of the spill just last week. He told KING 5 the spill did not reach the level of concern used to post warnings.
He said the area is flushed daily by the powerful tides and since the pipe has been shut down until it can be repaired, it poses no risk to crabbers.