N. Seattle residents fuming over 'Third World' sewage spill

N. Seattle residents fuming over 'Third World' sewage spill
SEATTLE - A trail of toilet paper and a disgusting home video tell the tale of a weekend mess that has left some North Seattle residents fuming. They say raw sewage flooded their roads, lawns, homes and who knows what else during Sunday's drenching rainstorm.

"I pay my bills. I pay my taxes. I don't live in a Third World country," said Linda Lord, who lives in the Broadview neighborhood of North Seattle. "I should be able to not have my neighbor's toilet paper and excrement in my basement."

Video and photos shot by Lord's family - and others - show manhole covers running over with toilet paper, human waste, water, and even a rat.

"It was bubbling through the holes on the manhole cover and trying to lift it up," said resident Mike LaRussa, who shot some of the video and photos. "If it wasn't for the bolt they put in (the manhole) three years ago, it would've come up and it would've been a traffic problem."

Minor traffic problems were reported as a result of the mess. The road was shut down at NW 105th Street and 2nd Avenue NW Sunday, after water spilled out into the street and neighboring homes.

"At this point we're just starting the investigation to figure out what happened - whether or not the system performed as designed," said Ingrid Goodwin with Seattle Public Utilities.

The company received nearly 400 calls, Goodwin added, including a number from the Broadview area. In addition, the city Parks Department shut down Meadowbrook Park in North Seattle because of sewage overflowing into a pond, and closed a trail in Carkeek Park after someone spotted sewage there.

Broadview experienced serious flooding in 2007. After that, residents formed a committee to work with city leaders on area improvements. Still, some wonder when it'll be enough.

"This is only supposed to happen during a 100-year storm, and, since I've been here, it's happened at least three times," added LaRussa. "I'm sick of it," says Lord. "I know we expect rain in Seattle, but I think we should also be able to expect protection."

Broadview wasn't the only area with serious sewage problems this weekend. Nearly 1.7 million gallons of sewage spilled into Lake Washington Sunday, after heavy rains combined with a computer malfunction. Sewage spilled freely into the lake for about 16 hours, according to Logan Harris of the King County Department of Natural Resources.