Cove sewer leak fixed

A leaking sewer pipe has been repaired at Penn Cove after a wait of several weeks.

Crews from Pipe Experts in Tumwater inserted a high density polyethylene sleeve into the existing concrete pipe Friday to fix a leak in the pipe used to carry treated waste water.

“This could have been a really scary project,” said Dean Thiem, wastewater plant manager at the Penn Cove wastewater treatment facility.

The problem surfaced at the beginning of the month when Thiem ran dye through the pipe to find where the end of the pipe is located.

Small amounts of dye surfaced near the beach from the pipe, which allows treated wastewater to return to Penn Cove.

Thiem said local government agencies had gone out of their way to expedite the cleanup process. The Department of Fish and Wildlife processed a permit that would normally take months in a matter of a few days, he said.

The concrete pipe was installed in 1964 and this was the first time it has had any problems, Thiem said. The new insert is approximately one inch thick and will outlast any resident of Whidbey Island, he said.

The repair job, which began at 5 a.m., forced the Penn Cove facility to cease releasing treated water for most of the day. Thiem said the facility had enough capacity to hold the partially treated waste until crews finished the repairs.

Thiem said final costs for the repair would not be available for a few weeks. He said he expects the final costs to be under $40,000.

Crews inserted the sleeve in to the old pipe with a backhoe, keeping the machinery off of the beach, which was an important environmental consideration, according to Pipe Experts backhoe operator Corey Hale. “It’s what we came up with to please everybody,” he said.

You can reach News-Times reporter Eric Berto at

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