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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 12, 2015
Art Starry, Thurston County Environmental Health Division at (360) 867-2587
Ramiro Chavez, Public Works Director, (360)-867-2271

High Acidity Levels Impact Ground Mound Sewer Plant
No risk to area water wells

Thurston County officials are investigating what appears to be higher than normal acidity in the wastewater coming into the county's sewage treatment plant at Grand Mound. This acidity, or higher pH levels, can interfere with the wastewater treatment process, which has led to elevated pollutant levels in the effluent coming out of the treatment plant.

County health staff has determined that there is little safety risk for the public. In the area where the effluent is discharged into the Chehalis River, there are no nearby public beaches or public access points, and the river is typically not used for recreation at this time of year.

"The health risk for the public is low in this situation, but we wanted to make citizens aware out of an abundance of caution," said Art Starry, Director of the county's Environmental Health Division. "However, people should avoid contact with the river water immediately downstream from the outfall near Maple Lane School, until the situation is resolved."

Thurston County Utilities Operations Manager Scott Schimelfenig says, "We are working closely with the Department of Ecology on this matter and have hired consultants to help determine the source of the problem and the solution. We expect to have the proper treatment balance and bring the plant back to regular operations quickly."

Those who have questions can contact Thurston County Environmental Health Division Director Art Starry at (360) 867-2587 or by email at StarryA@co.thurston.wa.us, or contact Thurston County Utilities Operations Manager Scott Schimelfenig at (360) 867-2278 or SchimeS@co.thurston.wa.us.



County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3