Thurston County health officials have closed the beach at the West Bay Park and posted advisory signs at the park and West Bay Marina after a minor wastewater overflow was detected in the area late Tuesday night. The beach closure is a precaution to protect beachgoers from any of the overflow that may have temporarily contaminated the shore. Health officials plan to re-open the beach by midday Friday after any contaminated water has dissipated.
City of Olympia crews responded to an overflowing manhole on Tuesday evening, February 11 near 2100 West Bay Drive NW. An estimated 22,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed after heavy rain showers moved through the South Sound region Tuesday evening. Crewmembers were able to stop the overflow and clean the surrounding ground and ditches, but some of the overflow may have reached the beach, prompting the precautionary beach closure.
Health officials also recommend that nearby beachfront property owners avoid contact with the water until Friday to allow any contaminated waters to dissipate.
"The health risk for the public is relatively low in this situation, but we decided to close the beach and post the advisory signs until Friday out of an abundance of caution," said Art Starry, Director of the county's Environmental Health Division.
Starry added, "We also were able to coordinate well with the staff at the City of Olympia on this matter, and we really appreciate the help they gave us and that folks at West Bay Marina gave us with posting the signs. Everyone has stepped up and they've been great to work with."
For more information on protecting yourself, your family and your pets from common swimming and water-borne illnesses, visit the county health department's web page at www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehadm/Archived%20Pages/illness_hazards_old.html