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Pollution from leak at Bainbridge treatment plant may have made it to Blakely Harbor

A 1-inch hole in a tank at the Fort Ward Treatment Plant was discovered Tuesday, and sludge from the tank has apparently leaked into a nearby stream and wetland.

Sludge-type material has since been found in Blakely Harbor.

"It's a significant spill," said Stuart Whitford of the Kitsap Public Health District.

How much sludge has leaked is not yet known, but Whitford estimated that it may total thousands of gallons.

The state Department of Ecology has been notified of the leak.

Whitford said signs have been posted near public access points to the beach, warning people not to touch the water or take shellfish.

Personnel responding to the scene found the wetland near Fort Ward Hill Road discolored from pollution.

"We found what appears to be the sludge down in the wetland," Whitford said.

Samples have been taken for testing. And while it's not certain that the pollution has come from the leak at the treatment plant tank, it seems likely the tank is the source,  Whitford said.

"It has not yet been confirmed," he said.

"We still have a lot of unknowns," Whitford added. "This is an active investigation."

The Fort Ward Treatment Plant treats sewage for about 500 homes and businesses, including Lynwood Center, Rockaway Beach, Pleasant Beach, Point White and Emerald Heights.

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