The Washington Department of Ecology and other agencies are tracking a raw sewage spill from a sewage treatment system in British Columbia that was flowing into the Columbia River and into Washington state Saturday, June 23.
The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary reported that heavy rains caused their sanitary sewer system volume to more than double from the average flow of 10,000 cubic meters per day to 24,000 cubic meters per day in the early afternoon on Saturday. Ten thousand cubic meters equals approximately 2.6 million gallons. Solid waste was contained throughout the incident.
The B.C. Interior Health Authority determined that, with the volume of sewage spilled and the flow of water in the Columbia River, concentrations of sewage would be negligible by the time any amount reached the Canada-United States border. The Columbia River enters Washington state and Stevens County approximately six miles north of the community of Northport.
B.C. Ministry of Environment environmental emergency response officers are continuing to monitor the situation as the weather system evolves.
Ecology, Stevens County Sheriff’s Office and the Northeast Tri-County Health District also are monitoring the response progress.
As a precaution, the Northeast Tri-County Health District warns citizens to stay away from the river as much as possible until the sewage has finished running down the river.