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Public Works cleans up “significant spill”

Kitsap County Health District officials on Friday dealt with what an agency spokesman termed a “very significant” sewage spill on the southeast corner of State Route 16 at Tremont Avenue.

“We’ve issued an advisory to South Kitsap residents to heed our signs and stay out of the way until we get the situation cleared up,” said Stuart Whitford, water quality program manager for the district.

He declined to speculate about how many gallons of sewage were involved or how long the cleanup would take.

“First we have to pump out the liquid,” Whitford explained, “then we can deal with the sediment left underneath in order to bring the site back to its normal condition.”

The sewage spilled from a manhole up the hill from the Harrison Medical Center on Tremont, and flowed down to a retention pond and bio-swale used as part of the stormwater control system along the freeway.

On Thursday, Port Orchard Public Works employees fixed a clog in a housing development upslope from the pond near Longview Avenue. A manhole near the development filled up as a result of the clog and began to overflow down to the stormwater pond.

“As a result, a pond that would normally be dry this time of year filled up with sewage,” Whitford said.

Port Orchard Public Works employee George Thompson said, “We were very fortunate that we had a place that it ran to.”

Port Orchard Public Works Director Maher Abed said crews routinely monitor the pipelines to ensure clogs like this don’t occur, but this particular location was more remote and was not caught soon enough.

Health District officials, after meeting with representatives from the city of Port Orchard, decided to divert to the sewage downslope into the city’s sewer system.

“That seems to be working pretty well,” Whitford said.

By 2:30 p.m. Friday, workers had pumped an estimated 60,000 gallons of liquid out of the pond and into the sewage system. That liquid could include some water already present in the pond, Thompson said.

Thompson said Public Works would finish draining the liquid sewage from the pond Friday afternoon and clean up the contaminated soil after receiving direction from the Department of Ecology.

Whitford said there was no evidence that Ross Creek, which lies just west of the retention pond, had been impacted by the spill. Also, “The road drainage network appears dry,” he reported. “And that’s a good thing.”

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