In February of last year, the West Point Sewage Treatment Plant experienced a failure that sent 180 million gallons of untreated wastewater into Puget Sound. The discharge was between 10 and 20 percent raw sewage. The damage led to further discharges later in the month, with a final total of almost 250 million gallons of wastewater released from the plant.
Now a scientific report shows that the wastewater discharge last year had only a minimal impact on water quality. Bacteria counts at nearby beaches went up briefly, but water samples met water quality standards at various sites around the plant last year.
This is most likely due to high currents that quickly diluted the contaminated water. Industrial waste that comes to West Point for treatment also has to go through a pre-treatment process, so some of the worst contamination is removed before reaching the plant.
While water quality samples turned up good results, researchers are still analyzing sediment samples and samples from marine life.