Bainbridge not to blame for sewer line break

The sewer spill that pushed untreated wastewater onto city streets near Madison Avenue and Wallace Way earlier this month was caused by a private contractor who was working nearby, city officials said this week.

Bainbridge Public Works Director Barry Loveless said the sewer line break was accidental.

It happened when a construction crew working on a new veterinarian clinic on Madison Avenue hit the sewer line while digging with an excavator.

"They were digging down to try to find the sewer line to do a connection to their new building and they inadvertently broke the top of the line without realizing it," Loveless said.

Approximately 40,000 gallons of sewage was released after the pipe was broken on Tuesday, Feb. 18, and the spill prompted the Kitsap County Health District to issue a no-contact order that warned residents to not touch the waters of Eagle Harbor. The no-contact order was lifted earlier this week.

Loveless said dirt, mud and gravel got into the broken sewer line, which then blocked sewer flows from moving through the line. Wastewater then backed up and overflowed from the nearby manhole.

The private contractor who broke the line repaired the pipe, but the city is still tallying up the bills for the mishap, which included labor, overtime, the costs of contractors hired to haul away sewage that had to be diverted from the line until it was repaired, and other expenses.

Loveless also said the city is still in the process of cleaning mud from other manholes and catchbasins that got into the sewer line after it was broken open.


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