King County must pay $361K fine, make changes for sewage spill

SEATTLE (AP) — King County must pay $361,000 in fines and make major changes following a massive sewage spill at its Seattle plant in February.

State regulators found that a lack of reliable back-up equipment, poor operation and inadequate maintenance practices led to the disaster that began Feb. 9.

Equipment failed at the state's largest sewage plant near Seattle's Discovery Park, causing millions of gallons of raw sewage and untreated runoff to flow into Puget Sound.

The Washington Department of Ecology said Tuesday that insufficient operator training and a lack of alarms at the West Point Treatment Plant made the damage worse.

The state ordered King County to improve equipment backups, improve how the facility sends critical alarms to operators and make other changes.

In a statement accompanying the state's announcement, King County officials say they've already made critical improvements to the facility, including beefing up emergency training programs.