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Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Edgewater Hotel pumped sewage into Puget Sound

Edgewater Hotel inadvertently pumps raw sewage into Puget Sound.

Seattle Times staff reporter

The upscale Edgewater Hotel had been inadvertently pumping raw sewage into Puget Sound since Friday after the hotel's main sewer line broke.

Rudy Sharp, the hotel's managing director, said late Monday that a temporary fix for the 8-inch line beneath Pier 67 was expected to be completed Monday night before midnight. A permanent fix will take about a week to finish, he added.

The 223-room hotel — the only one in Seattle located directly above the waters of Elliott Bay — has been fully booked since Friday and currently has about 300 guests, Sharp said. At this point, it's unclear how many gallons of sewage might have spilled, he said.

The line ruptured after its mounting brackets broke and the pipe pulled away from the pier. Saltwater had corroded the brackets over time, Sharp said. He wasn't sure who first contacted Seattle Public Utilities about the spill Friday. There is no noticeable unpleasant smell or water discoloration, he added.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) spokesman Andy Ryan said the biggest environmental threat is from the hotel laundry rather than from guests flushing.

"Our primary concern was the detergent, and the aquatic life that could be harmed," Ryan said.

The Edgewater closed the laundry early Monday, immediately after being asked to do so by SPU, Sharp said. The laundry is not typically open over the weekend, he added, and this past weekend was no exception.

Fixing the line has proved problematic because workers can gain access to the line only during high tides, Sharp said. A barge with a storage tank was brought in to take the sewage in the event the temporary repair proved unsuccessful.

Hotel guests were notified, with letters under their doors, that running water would be shut off for a couple of hours Monday night while the repair was completed.

Scaffolding needs to be built under the hotel before a permanent repair can be finished, Sharp said. The hotel has been asking contractors to get the work done as soon as possible with little regard to the cost, he said.

"We wanted to do what's right," Sharp said. "More than most businesses — because of our location — we know how important the environment is and take this very seriously."

With its views over Elliott Bay, rooms at the Edgewater typically cost close to $300 per night, according to Sharp.

Nick Perry: 206-515-5639 or nperry@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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