Sep 10, 2018

Naval Base Wastewater Pipes Connected to Storm Water System

The restrooms in two trailers were connected to the storm water system for two years and spilled an estimated 450,000 gal of wastewater

Naval base leaks wastewater following connection with storm water system
Naval base leaks wastewater following connection with storm water system

Naval Base Kitsap discovered a long-term sewage spill that leaked an estimated 450,000 gal of wastewater into the Puget Sound during the past two years.

The naval base, located on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington state, found restrooms in two temporary trailers installed in 2016 at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard were incorrectly connected to a storm water sewer system instead of the wastewater system. Consequently, waste from the trailers was directly sent into the Sinclair Inlet that flows into the Puget Sound for two years.

According to The Seattle Times, the issue was discovered Sept. 5 following a monthly water test showed elevated bacteria counts. The Sinclair Inlet has been under scrutiny recently following two additional sewage spills earlier in the year, with the most recent spill attributed to a blocked sewer line releasing 80,000 gal of wastewater through a storm water vault. In response to the elevated bacteria level, public works officials proactively sought out the source through the 30 miles of underground pipes at the base, rather than waiting for further testing.

“With this spill, and the last one, and the last one, it’s an opportunity for continuous-process improvement and that’s what led us to  change our process last month,” said Cmdr. Ben Leppard, public works officer for Naval Base Kitsap. “It honestly allowed us to identify this in a matter of days, compared to what could’ve been a month or two more.”