Nature's fury followed by a wonder of nature

Two salmon spawn in Dogfish Creek at 8th Avenue and Lincoln Road, Wednesday, after Public Works crews cleared a blocked culvert.  - Barry K. Loveless
Two salmon spawn in Dogfish Creek at 8th Avenue and Lincoln Road, Wednesday, after Public Works crews cleared a blocked culvert.
— image credit: Barry K. Loveless

POULSBO — The sight was like a reward for all of the trouble of the previous two days.

After city Public Works crews cleared the culvert through which Dogfish Creek flows under 8th Avenue and Lincoln Road, crews saw two salmon swim by and spawn.

Public Works Director Barry K. Loveless said he saw the female salmon lay her eggs in a redd, and then saw a male salmon fertilize the eggs.

“It was amazing,” Loveless said. “If you’re familiar with how the creek snakes through [Poulsbo] Village, there are barriers. There are barriers near the medical center and no real open water, so the fact that they can make it through that is amazing.”

That was Wednesday. Nature was not so gentle two days earlier.

The torrential downpour that flooded several streets and washed out part of a road on upper Bjorgen Creek also caused wastewater to spill into a daylight basement at Nordnes Street and 9th Avenue and into Liberty Bay.

According to Loveless, an inundated sewer main was inundated with stormwater and popped a manhole cover, allowing a 5,000- to 10,000-gallon mix of wastewater and stormwater to flow out.

Three or four Public Works crew members went to the scene and, with sandbags, routed the flow from the house to a storm drain, Loveless said. The crew members pumped the water from the basement.

Loveless said the home’s daylight basement was affected by a similar wastewater overflow in 2007. He said future incidents could be prevented by installing a berm.

Stuart Whitford, manager of the Kitsap County Health District’s Water Pollution Identification and Correction Program, visited the house Wednesday. He said the primary cleanup had been completed and the homeowner was hiring a contractor to replace damaged carpet and drywall. The upstairs area was still habitable, Whitford said, and the daylight basement had a “flood smell.”

Whitford said the wastewater that flowed out of the sewer main was diluted. But the Kitsap County Health District issued a seven-day no contact advisory for Liberty Bay, and Health District staff members were posting warning signs at public access locations in the area Wednesday.

During the advisory, the public is advised to avoid contact with the bay and not harvest shellfish from it. The advisory is scheduled to be lifted the morning of Nov. 26, according to the health district.

The average septic tank is 1,000 gallons, Whitford said. The estimated amount of wastewater that spilled Monday is enough to fill five to 10 septic tanks. The sewer main that overflowed carries Poulsbo’s wastewater along Highway 305 to Lemolo and then under Liberty Bay to Brownsville.

The spill was one of several storm-caused spills in Kitsap County. The Health District recommends not harvesting shellfish anywhere in Kitsap County during and following heavy rain events, because of the increased risk of illness from waterborne pathogens.



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