Flushed Toxic Chemicals Left Town Water Treatment Plant’s pH Level ‘Dangerously Low’

Posted July 22, 2021 at 7:53 am by

Nearby RV Dump Station Temporarily Closed as a Result

From the town of Fri­day Harbor

The town of Fri­day Har­bor urgent­ly requests that all users of its sew­er sys­tem refrain from adding tox­ic flu­ids and non­degrad­able items into the waste stream.

“A prop­er­ly func­tion­ing sew­er sys­tem is absolute­ly crit­i­cal for the health of coastal com­mu­ni­ties,” said Town Admin­is­tra­tor Dun­can Wilson.

He said the town con­tin­ues to upgrade its sys­tem to meet all reg­u­la­tions and to pro­tect the town and the coast­line, but no sys­tem is designed to han­dle trash and dan­ger­ous chemicals.


A tox­ic chem­i­cal recent­ly flushed or dumped into the sys­tem caused the pH lev­el of the plant to drop dan­ger­ous­ly low and forced the town to tem­porar­i­ly close its RV dump sta­tion. The sta­tion is locat­ed near the treat­ment plant, and waste­water deposit­ed there goes direct­ly into the plant with­out any oppor­tu­ni­ty for dilution.

“If there are tox­ins in that waste­water, it puts the sys­tem at risk,” said Wil­son. “This is a good time to remind us all to prop­er­ly dis­pose of tox­ic chem­i­cals, pre­scrip­tion drugs and over-the-counter med­ica­tions out­side of the town waste­water sys­tem to elim­i­nate the poten­tial of con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing our frag­ile treat­ment system.”


Cit­i­zens and vis­i­tors are also being remind­ed to place non­degrad­able items in the trash.

This includes any paper heav­ier than toi­let paper, any type of wipe (baby, facial, san­i­tary, “flush­able”), cot­ton balls, san­i­tary prod­ucts, dia­pers, rags, cof­fee grounds, cat lit­ter, dead ani­mals, cig­a­rette butts, cook­ing oil, grease, lard, and any­thing else that won’t break down after an hour in water.

In addi­tion to clog­ging pipes and cre­at­ing sew­er back­ups for unsus­pect­ing cus­tomers, accu­mu­lat­ed trash items can and have caused seri­ous dam­age to the treat­ment facility.

The RV sta­tion is sched­uled to reopen next week. Access will be avail­able 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. week­days, and users must pay a $20 dump fee and place a $20 deposit at town hall to pick up a key. Com­mer­cial use of the sta­tion is lim­it­ed. For more infor­ma­tion about the town waste­water sys­tem, go to www.fridayharbor.org.

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One comment...

  1. This is great Infor­ma­tion. Coop­er­a­tion from our local retail­ers (mar­kets, drug stores) could nip prob­lems in the bud….perhaps sig­nage at the “@Tide” pods soap site, hygiene prod­ucts, and oth­er dis­posed-of-goods would at least let peo­ple know….we also have to have out­reach into the mobile home community.

    Reps sit­ting at the entrance to retail­ers could have pic­tures of these prod­ucts cre­at­ing harm at the plant. It makes the prob­lem no longer an abstraction.

    Comment by Jamie rackley schiff on July 22, 2021 at 11:41 am

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