Wastewater treatment plant in emergency operations

A broken pipe results in loss of secondary treatment

May 06, 2017 - by Eric Johnston, Assistant Director for Operations

Early Saturday morning a 30-inch diameter pipe failed inside the City of Bellingham wastewater treatment plant.  The failure resulted in significant flooding of the  underground galleries and a shut down of the secondary treatment process.  All components of the primary treatment process are functioning.  Basic levels of treatment and disinfection are being provided to protect human health and the environment.   

The City has notified permitting agencies including the Washington State Departments of Ecology and Health as well as the Whatcom County Health Department.  

On site operators were able to rapidly close valves and shut down processes to minimize the flooding and damage.  Crews are now working to remove flood waters before being able to safely restore system components.  The extent of the damage is still being assessed and we do not currently have a timeline for full repairs.  The primary treatment system is fully operational and will continue to operate and provide basic treatment.  

An additional update will be provided by 9:00 am on May 7, 2017.

Media Contact

Eric Johnston, PE
Assistant Director
Public Works Operations

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