City of Moses Lake approves emergency declaration following sewage contamination into Parker Horn
— Downtown Moses Lake
The Moses Lake City Council made an emergency declaration to expedite the replacement of a sewer main that ruptured under the lake Aug. 28, releasing at least 64,000 gallons of raw sewage into the lake.
That release prompted a seven day no-contact advisory for the waters of Moses Lake.The sewage spill on Aug. 28 was caused by a hole in the Knolls Vista siphon, causing about 64,000 gallons of raw sewage to be released into the lake, according to city officials. City wastewater employees installed a stainless steel band to stop the discharge. The resolution declaring an emergency allows the city to waive the formal bidding process and immediately hire a contractor for the project.
Around five hours after the breach was reported, Moses Lake City’s wastewater employees installed a steel band around the breach to stop the discharge temporarily. With the city of ML‘s declaration of an emergency, the council has advised city staff to waive the formal bidding process for the repair, which entail rerouting the sewer mains on Northshore Drive, that will bypass the Knolls Vista siphon where the breach was by installing a gravity main directly to the Sage Bay Lift Station.
Once sewage is redirected to a line out from underneath the lake, the old stretch of sewage pipe under the water that was the source of the wastewater will be capped off and allowed to remain and rot under the lake, indefinitely.
Moses Lake resident Richard Teals, who initially reported seeing the sewage bubbling up above the surface of the lake, spoke at Tuesday’s city council meeting stating that the leakage speed would have slowed in speed significantly only if the breach had not occurred near a pylon that directed the sewage toward the surface of the lake.
“Though it is not clear how long sewage had been released into the lake before Teals detected it, detection would have taken longer if the leak had not been so obvious,” said Municipal Services Director Fred Snoderly.
At the earliest, the breach may have taken until the next morning to detect, when city staff takes daily readings at the pump stations, Snoderly said. In response, council member Ryann Leonard suggested that, as the city deals with aging infrastructure and the potential for further leaks, the city should consider installing devices to detect breaks in lines earlier.
Concerns about the future of breaking pipes and raw sewage contaminations were brought to the attention of many at the meeting Tuesday night.