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Officials investigate sewer spill

POULSBO — Even though the leak has been fixed, officials investigating last Thursday’s sewage spill at the head of Liberty Bay continue to pour over information in an attempt to determine the extent of the pollution.

“We’re still crunching numbers, but I expect to make a report to the council on Wednesday,” said Public Works Director Jeff Lincoln Monday afternoon.

Officials are continuing to review wastewater system data as they seek more answers, Lincoln said.

In the meantime, the Kitsap County Health District closed Liberty Bay Sept. 30. The bay will remain closed until at least Friday, said KHD water quality program manager Stuart Whitford.

“Water sample data showed the station closest to the spill was hot,” Whitford said. “It maxxed out the scale for fecal coliform bacteria.”

However, all of the other stations tested in the bay showed no signs of fecal coliform or very low levels of the bacteria, he said.

“We’ll be out again monitoring on Thursday and after we receive the results on Friday we’ll make another determination,” Whitford said.

If bacteria levels have dropped to an acceptable level, then the bay will be reopened; but if they haven’t, it will remain closed until they do.

While the sewage spill posed an immediate problem that was quickly resolved by a coordinated effort, it demonstrates the need for increased redundancy in the city’s sewage system, Lincoln said. One of the keys to obtaining that redundancy is the construction of the Bond Road pump station and force main along State Route 305 from the Olhava development, he said. However, construction has been delayed by a series of the issues, the city is working hard to resolve.

“We have to get it done before they start widening 305,” he said, noting that he is optimistic the issues will be resolved quickly.

Once the Bond Road pump station is complete, the city will be able to do two things, Lincoln said.

“It will allow us to shunt all the flow from North Poulsbo, which is the areas north of 305 and 3,” he said, noting that the flow currently goes to the Lindvig pump station.

In the long run, the Bond Road station will allow the city to route most of its sewage flow along the 305 force main, he said.

The spill also reinforces the fact that all pieces of the sewage system are important, he said.

“We’re trying to build redundancy and improve things as we go,” he said, explaining that the city is working to improve its ability to gather and analyze data from its different systems.

While some aspects of the city’s system are working well, there are subtle refinements that will make a difference, he said.

“Things like seeing how long a pump has been running and if it changes we need to be able to pick it up,” he said, noting that alterations like that could be an indication of a potential problem.

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