Port Angeles Harbor hit with overflow of 6 million gallons of mixed stormwater, sewage

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT ANGELES — Public health officials warn against any contact with Port Angeles Harbor water for the next seven days after heavy rain led to an overflow of 6 million gallons of stormwater and raw sewage into it.

The Clallam County Environmental Health Division issued the warning today (Friday) after heavy rain on Wednesday and Thursday forced the untreated sewage and stormwater into the harbor from the city’s four combined sewer overflow outfalls.

Two outfalls discharge near Port Angeles’ newly completed downtown waterfront esplanade.

One sends water into Peabody Creek near where it meets the harbor, and the fourth discharges into the harbor near Francis Street Park.

The untreated stormwater and sewage could contain fecal bacteria because of the sewage, and contact with the water could result in skin rashes, respiratory infections and other illnesses, according to the county health division.

Combined sewer outfall discharges happen when heavy rains overwhelm the city’s sewer lines, forcing stormwater and sewage into the harbor so they don’t back up into homes, businesses or city streets, according to the city.

The last no-contact warning for harbor water was issued Oct. 3, and lifted the following week, after heavy rain between Sept. 28 and Oct. 1 sent an estimated 8 million gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater into the harbor.

The city is working on a $42 million project, the largest public works project in the city’s history, to reduce combined sewer outfall discharges under a state Department of Ecology mandate to do so by 2016.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: March 07. 2014 2:30PM
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