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A week after sewage spill, it’s safe to go back into Padden Creek

Padden Creek in Bellingham on Monday, Feb. 29. People were warned to stay out of the creek after a sewage spill; the water was deemed safe March 4.
Padden Creek in Bellingham on Monday, Feb. 29. People were warned to stay out of the creek after a sewage spill; the water was deemed safe March 4. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

Padden Creek has been reopened because tests show bacteria levels have returned to normal a week after as much as 300,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the water.

The creek had been closed from 17th Street down to Padden Estuary because of the spill, which occurred during work on a sewer main project in the Happy Valley Neighborhood.

The spill started Feb. 23 and was halted Feb. 25. The city reopened the creek Friday, March 4.

Signs were posted last week warning people and their pets to stay out of the water because of what was then unsafe levels of fecal coliform bacteria, which can cause illness.

The spill started in an area where the city spent $2.8 million to “daylight” Padden Creek and make other improvements to restore its habitat.

The Washington state Department of Ecology is investigating how the spill occurred.

Kie Relyea

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