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Employees’ fast action protects treatment plant, water quality following diesel spill

Summary

Employees with King County’s clean-water utility successfully captured fuel-tainted wastewater that entered the West Point Treatment Plant after a locomotive derailed at the Interbay rail yard in Seattle Thursday morning.

Story

Employees with King County’s clean-water utility successfully captured fuel-tainted wastewater that entered the West Point Treatment Plant after a locomotive derailed at the Interbay rail yard in Seattle Thursday morning.

Most of the fuel was contained in a drainage system at the rail yard though some of it entered the sewer system through a storm drain in the Interbay area.

After being notified about the diesel spill by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) and BNSF Railway (BNSF), quick-thinking treatment plant operators shut down some of the process equipment to enable the oil that reached the sewer system to float to the surface of the primary treatment process tanks, where it was skimmed off and diverted to a holding tank.

Plant employees also closely monitored process areas and temporarily restricted access to confined spaces for added precaution.

Operators at West Point Treatment Plant estimate they collected about 2,000 gallons of contaminated water, which will be collected for disposal by BNSF. The plant is operating normally and no process facilities were damaged or compromised.

This release is also posted on the website for the Department of Natural Resources and Parks at http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/dnrp.aspx

Note to editors and reporters: Visit the WTD Newsroom, a portal to information for the news media about the Wastewater Treatment Division, King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks: http://www.kingcounty.gov/environment/wtd/Newsroom.aspx

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People enjoy clean water and a healthy environment because of King County's wastewater treatment program. The county’s Wastewater Treatment Division protects public health, the environment and the economy by serving 17 cities, 17 local sewer districts and more than 1.5 million residents in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Formerly called Metro, the regional clean-water agency now operated by King County has been preventing water pollution for nearly 50 years.