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Denny Blaine Park Reopened

Tests show bacteria levels are within safe standards 

Denny Blaine ParkSeattle Parks and Recreation and Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) have removed warning signs from Denny Blaine Park after multiple water samples showed bacteria levels in Lake Washington, offshore of the park, are within standards considered safe for recreation.

Although Denny Blaine Park is not a designated swimming beach—there is no lifeguard, and Parks officials strongly discourage swimming in the area—“no swimming” signs were posted there last week after city inspectors detected high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in a stormwater pipe just upstream of the park, at 200 Lake Washington Blvd. E.

SPU’s Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) team, which discovered the high bacteria levels as part of a citywide screening program, has now investigated and located the source of the problem—which was found to be a privately owned side sewer improperly connected to the stormwater drainage system. A recent remodel at the residence resulted in the inadvertent connection.

Ellen Stewart, SPU’s IDDE supervisor, said the homeowner will be cited for the improper connection and is working cooperatively with the utility to resolve the situation. Since last week, when the problem was found, SPU has been using a bypass system near the beach to keep sewage out of the water since the problem was found.

“There is a virtual highway of underground utilities in our city; our job is to find the wrong connections and get them fixed. Getting them fixed has a direct impact on the water quality of our rivers, lakes and streams,” Stewart said.