The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has posted warning signs at the beaches at Jack Hyde and Dickman Mill parks on Ruston Way due to the possibility of a minor sewage spill during Monday’s storm.
As a precautionary measure, the City of Tacoma alerted the state Department of Ecology that a sewage spill was possible, given the large volume of rain flowing into the sanitary sewer collection system through inflow and infiltration, which prompted an alert to the Health Department and the beach closure.
During the initial investigation, the severity of the storm and high tides made it difficult to say that no sewage entered the water. The City’s follow-up investigation after the storm indicates that there was no overflow. Physical inspection of the potential overflow point and bacterial analysis of the water in the overflow vault indicated water in the vault had not been contaminated by sewage.
“It is better to err on the side of caution in these events to ensure public health and safety,” said Michael Slevin, interim director of Tacoma’s Environmental Services Department.
Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department says the agency will be following its protocol and sampling water again next week to confirm the City’s findings and reopen the beaches.