Olympia: Ward Lake closes due to sewage

KomoNews. Sept 6:

Raw sewage forces closure of popular Olympia swimming lake

link: VIDEO

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Olympia’s pristine Ward Lake has an emergency closure, and residents are finding disgusting evidence of raw sewage.

“Well, just poop floating by,” said resident Jeff Lake. “And toilet paper.”

Water tests late last week showed high levels of fecal coliform.

“It’s 10 times the standard and in fact one sample was higher than that,” said Art Starry with Thurston County Environmental Health. “And so that was a big concern.”

It was big enough to force the immediate closure of the lake.

“Can’t swim, you shouldn’t walk in it, said former Olympia school superintendent Art Coble, who has lived on the lake 60 years. “It’s not safe to be around.”

Lake resident Denise Marz believes the source may be the sewer system for the homes on the north end of the lake. But city health inspectors are checking the sewage pumping station and the groundwater table.

“They’ve pressure tested their lines, they’ve looked at their pump station and they haven’t found anything that’s the obvious source of the problem,” Starry said.

Which turns the attention the individual homeowners on the lake who have their own separate septic systems. Could one or some of them have failed? All they know is that what’s going down someone’s toilet, is going out into Ward Lake, bringing a halt to some of the best swimming days of the year.

Health experts say fecal coliform isn’t deadly but can really make you sick.

Tests will take a few more days so the lake could remain closed for the rest of the week or perhaps longer.

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