Sewerage overflow into our drinking-water reservoir on December 14th, 2001.


Members of the Clean Water Alliance and a fisheries biologist from WA Dept of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) stood near the shit creek and could smell the raw sewage. We didn't dip our little hands in the water but you could see oil, suds, "lil chunks" of mystery goo, and smell the raw sewer smell. It was watery, which is to be expected with so much infiltration, sump pumps and normal grey water (showers, baths, washing, dishwashers, pee pee, etc. ) Turds would be mished by the time they got through the system, we suspect.

Note the total absence of any public warning of the nature and hazard of raw sewerage, in all the photos. These were taken about 10:am; the spill had been continuing since midnight.

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Map of the portion of Sudden Valley showing the "detention tank" (violet arrow) and sewerage overflow path to Lake (red bars).
No-detention

Sewage flowing into Austin Creek, gives you an idea of how much sewage was flowing, not just a trickle. This is a spawning size stream of raw sewage (for the finless brown trout, common in Sudden Valley)
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Pump

The pump is the abandoned pump that should be pumping sewage from the undersized overflow tank into tanker trucks at WD10's expense. WD10 gave up after 7 tanker loads and probably decided it was cheaper to pay CWA its $5,000 fine (from a lawsuit settlement) and just open up the valve into the lake because they probably know that on a Friday afternoon, no government employee would be out checking on them.

Fortunately WDFW gives a rip about fish in our lake and made the effort. The WDFW representative was appalled at the conditions of the streams and the open pipe of raw sewage going into the lake. He also was extremely aggravated at DOE for arguing with him about whether they had to come out there at all. Then they tried to tell him that it wasn't a problem.

The DOE "said" they would send someone out; we don't know if a representative made it there later.
MH-overflow

A manhole overflow shows that the inflow is greater than the pipe system can handle. Raw sewerage gushing out the top of a manhole is prohibited by law. Here you see it happening, regardless of law and regulation.
Sewerpipe

Sewerpipe shows the open 8" valve from the sewer system dumping to the golf course. We suspect that with every sump pump in Sudden Valley contributing to the system plus all the infiltration, the chunkiness is less than usual. But you could smell the sewage in the air. Not just me, the WDWF biologist can confirm if you like. We both know shit when we smell it.

The 8" valve comes off the sewer system, there were two manhole covers there with the words SEWER all over them. It was cranked wide open and brownish water was gushing out at approx 40-50 gallons per minute onto the hill side. We took some photos and a little video.
River-of

River of shit shows the flow just below the open valves. Not just a trickle.
Lake-of

This is the lake of raw sewage backing up near the road and golf course. Maybe 50 yards long and 10 wide and a foot deep. You can see the sudsy, oil chunky sheen on top of the water. This is not runoff.
Kids-in

Kids in sewage. We didn't identify them, but they had been splashing around in all the "water" until we told them what it was. "YUCK!" they exclaimed, and ran off to their bikes, shoes dripping with fresh sewage.

WHERE was the Health Department or DOE or the City??? This is a public health hazard and not one official was to been seen anywhere.

If it is not patently illegal to pump sewage into a reservoir; shouldn't it be? Maybe when parents see kids in sewage they might be concerned?


footnote: We have added these preliminary descriptions of each of these images, and they may be re-written if needed.
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