Earlier this week, The Seattle Times reported that King County will be fined $361,000 by the Washington Department of Ecology because of the catastrophic failure that lead to millions of gallons of raw sewage flowing into the Puget Sound from the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle.
The terrible failure occurred due to a number of reasons. The Seattle Times researched the failure in detail and found that “errors in judgement, poor communication, a lack of training, equipment failures and faulty maintenance led to the disastrous flood at West Point on Feb. 9.”
After months of investigating, a punishment has finally been imposed. King County will have to pay a fine of $361,000 and hit certain improvement requirements for the West Point Treatment Plant. According to another Seattle Times article, the Washington Department of Ecology found “inadequate maintenance, reliability issues and lack of backup equipment as well as lack of employee training led to the plant’s damage and dumping of untreated wastewater into the Puget Sound.” According to the same article, King County must now “better train operators for emergencies, monitor emergency bypasses, improve reliability of equipment and upgrade the critical alarm features of the plant’s control system by Aug. 1, 2018.”
The fine and improvement requirements were very much needed to discipline King County after poor judgement ultimately lead to millions of gallons of raw sewage being spilled into the Puget Sound. The government must be held accountable for catastrophic failures that could have been prevented.