Bainbridge Island water quality worries after sewage plant problems

As King County works to fix the damaged West Point sewage treatment plant, some people living on the other side of the sound are wondering if any contaminated water is washing up on their beaches. The concern is that there is no ongoing water sampling or

As King County works to fix the damaged West Point sewage treatment plant, some people living on the other side of the Sound are wondering if any contaminated water is washing up on their beaches.

“All you have to look out here, and even in the rain, it's spectacular. You never know what you're going to find,” said Maria Mason, who lives on the water.

But way out there in the distance, about four miles across the Sound, she sees a problem.

“My concern is, what are we doing to our water, which is our most precious asset?” Mason asked.

Related: King County approves West Point Treatment Plant investigation

She lives right across the water from the West Point treatment plant, which has been unable to fully treat sewage and runoff since flooding severely damaged its equipment last month. So what are the impacts on beaches like the one next to Mason's house? She says the answer is kind of murky.

The Kitsap Public Health District says there hasn't been any water sampling on the island since about a month ago. They just don't have the money for an ongoing monitoring program, health district administrator Keith Grellner said. 

Mason, who has spent several days pestering officials, says she had to dig for testing data from the earlier water tests. If you go on the health district website, “you won't find it,” Mason said.

There are no current beach advisories or closures, and the health district says the water test results from a month ago did not show anything that might be harmful to people or pets. According to Grellner, water sampling is not always the best method of detecting contamination, because fresh water in sewage and runoff does not easily mix with salt water in the sound.

The county says it is examining tides and staying in contact with King County officials to determine if there are any problems coming their way.

Copyright 2017 KING


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