KINGSTON — Kingston residents are warned to stay away from Appletree Cove until Nov. 13, following a sewage spill on West Kingston Road Nov. 1.
Kitsap County Public Works responded to a spill from a sewer force main at West Kingston Road and Marshall Lane at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 1. Operations supervisor John Gardner said the crew found a cracked PVC pipe and "gray water" was overflowing. The crew was able to stop the water from leaking by 8:30 a.m., but by then, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of sewage had drained along the curb, into a nearby catch basin, "which heads straight downhill to Appletree Cove," Gardner said.
The crew cleaned up the immediate site, and called Kitsap Public Health and the Department of Ecology to inform the public of the sewage spill.
Stuart Whitford, water pollution identification and correction program manager for Kitsap Public Health, said sewage did spill down some driveways, but no material, such as toilet paper, was found. He said most of it was absorbed into the ground and ran-off into the cove.
Public Health took samples from freshwater discharges that day which indicated sewage contamination.
"However, we can only link two, with certainty, to the spill," Whitford said via email. "Those samples are from a storm water outfall, and the receiving stream that flows to Apple Tree Cove. Both samples had very high levels of E. Coli bacteria."
Whiford sampled again Nov. 7 and found the contamination was lower, but still too high for safe public exposure. He said the salt water was most likely fine, but the stream is "still flushing itself out." The E. Coli levels are above 1,000 (per 100 milileters of water); Whitford said the standard is no higher than 126/100.
Whitford will sample again over the weekend.
Gardner said that site is inspected every 30 days. The crack in the plastic pipe could have happened when the ground shifted, he said, and Public Works hasn't had a spill of this magnitude in a long time. The last sewage spill occurred at a lift station in Bremerton, in December 2010. A lift station uses pressure to move sewage to a wastewater treatment facility.
"It's regrettable, I don't like it … but I think it was handled well," Gardner said. "It's not human error, just pipe failure."
Gardner said they have not filed work order yet, and did not know the cost of the cleanup or repair.