FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
|| August 20, 2015
Doug Bear, Public Communications Manager
County releases incident report regarding
recent sewer spills
(Kitsap County, WA) - Kitsap County Public Works released an
incident report today concluding its investigation into two recent sewer
spills in Dyes Inlet. The first spill, July 30, discharged about 40,000
gallons into the inlet when the contractor for the Bucklin Hill bridge
project inadvertently hit the county’s sewer force main while removing an
existing stormwater drain adjacent to it. The second spill occurred five
days later when a mechanical line stop installed to create a bypass of the
sewer main within the construction zone partially failed. About 16,000
gallons were discharged into the inlet during that incident.
“We are very concerned by the impact that these incidents had on the local
natural environment and the citizens of Kitsap County,” said Public Works
Director Andrew Nelson. “We execute all work and ensure contracted work is
in compliance with applicable law, best management practices for
construction activities and within a mind-set for responsible public
service,” said Nelson.
Granite Construction, the prime contractor for the bridge project, is the
responsible party for all construction activity on the project site. Granite
Construction and its subcontractors were performing utility work that led to
both spills and are responsible for the incidents, required cleanup and
repairs, and all costs incurred by Kitsap County.
County crews responded quickly to the first incident. Staff shut pump
stations down, mobilized tanker trucks to haul sewage past the break point,
controlled flows on both sides of the break and completed repairs to the
punctured force main. Granite Construction used their environmental spill
response subcontractor to direct the cleanup operation and conduct tests for
on-site contamination. County crews returned the system to normal operations
by 7:30 that evening.
County crews also responded quickly to the second event. Pump stations were
shut down to control flow into the area of the mechanical failure. County
tanker trucks and additional contracted tankers were brought to the site to
meet flow demands during the repair. This enabled the County to contain the
initial spill, limiting the amount of sewage discharged to the inlet.
Granite Construction installed permanent gate valves and removed the line
stops by 6:00 pm. County crews returned the pump stations to normal
operations shortly after that.
“I am proud of the professional response by the County sewer utility crews
and staff to both incidents, said Nelson.” “Their knowledge and experience
with this system and quick actions on site reduced the potential spill
amount, ensured the safety and integrity of the sewer system, and prevented
any disruption in service to the public.”
The Kitsap Public Health District issued no-contact advisories for the inlet
immediately after the first spill. During a no-contact advisory, the public
is advised to avoid contact with the water in the affected area. This means
no swimming, wading, or types of water play where water could be swallowed
or get in the mouth, nose or eyes.
There was an ongoing recreational shellfish harvesting closure already in
effect in parts of Dyes Inlet, but due to the spill, all shellfish
harvesting (including commercial) in Dyes Inlet and Port Washington was
closed. The advisories related to the spills were lifted August 11.
“Protecting our environment and providing safe and healthy communities are
two of the key vision statements we embrace in Kitsap County,” said County
Commissioner Ed Wolfe. “I live on the Inlet, enjoy local seafood and beaches
with my family. When these incidents occurred, like everyone in our
community, I was concerned and wanted corrective actions to happen
immediately,” said Wolfe. “Our Public Works Department responded quickly to
limit the potential impact and instituted measures so this won’t happen
again,” Wolfe added.
The County has given the contractor several directives to help prevent
another spill. Pre-planning meetings with staff from Public Works, the
onsite management team from Exeltech and Granite Construction are to be held
prior to any significant construction activity involving or adjacent to any
utility on site. Granite Construction will implement and complete a daily
Pre-excavation Checklist to review all utility locations in vicinity of
excavation work and inform the operators of required actions to avoid
impacting the utility.
Granite Construction is reaffirming utility locates and completing any
additional potholing to confirm location and elevation of existing
utilities. Granite Construction will use hand excavations to fully expose
and physically mark any live utilities that are relatively close to newly
installed work. Granite will also use this information to select appropriate
equipment to execute work.
Public Works is adding construction inspection staff to the current on-site
inspection team during periods of significant construction activity or
increased exposure of risk to utilities or other critical items of work.
The Public Works Sewer Utility construction management staff will attend
on-site construction progress meetings to monitor construction activity,
provide information on sewer utility structures and operations impacted by
the project, and coordinate any activity that may impact the sewer utility.
“Dyes Inlet, the fish, and the habitat are fragile. Ensuring the public’s
health and enjoyment of this Inlet is also paramount. The County takes these
events seriously and we believe the measures now in place will prevent
additional incidents,” said Wolfe.