Bottom line: Plug your nose & talk to the State

In our continuing coverage regarding the foul Beach Drive bouquet, A small community meeting with representatives from King County Waste Water just adjourned from the sidewalk of 4700 Beach Drive SW. Armed with a color 4 page report regarding the soundness of their sewer, King County says it wasn’t them!

2015-09-30 16.13.00


Four leakage sensors were setup inside man-holes along the circa 1957 main line that runs along the drive…



With no solid evidence supporting sewage runoff as our culprit, the meeting turned into a “now what” conversation. An ecologist from the county recommended that neighbors start a permit process asap with Washington Fish & Wildlife for dealing with the next round of rotting sea lettuce. The permits apparently last five years. If  NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is correct, we could be literally blown out of our houses next summer! An article issued by King 5 back in July reported NOAA’s prediction for Seattle’s chances of continued warming…

SEATTLE – There’s a 90 percent chance El Nino will continue through this coming winter and an 80 percent chance it will extend to early spring 2016, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center reported Thursday.

The stench has been no stranger to the Fauntleroy Cove area where residents took action to remove the seaweed. The Seattle Times reported

When the problem last emerged in 1990, state officials attacked it by corralling the seaweed in nets and hauling it out into the sound, where it was dumped. They did this for three years at a cost of about $10,000 a year, then stopped. The problem abated until this summer, when average temperatures were three to four degrees above normal and the Puget Sound area saw more sunshine than usual.

A few residents present at the meeting showed interest in moving forward to find a solution. Maybe consulting with other neighborhoods that have or are currently dealing with this issue would be a good start. We did learn that Dumas Bay click here for their study & Shilshole Pt. were also plugging their collective noses and working on solutions.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog



New stink to an old story?

EDITORS NOTE: Please scroll to the bottom of this post for an update.

Some new controversy is brewing in regard to the rotten egg-like stench we reported along parts of Beach Drive SW.  A neighbor in the 4600 block reportedly complained about the gaseous smell to a King County Wastewater representative and was told that the cause could possibly be related to a recent CSO (combined sewage overflow). At first flush, I would think they are referring to heavy rains we experienced on August 29th which pushed our monthly total far beyond the average.

Another concerned neighbor and I caught up with a KC Waste Water truck hanging out this morning at the base of Jacobson Street. The gentleman in the truck explained that he was tasked with installing sophisticated sensors at different points along the sewer line that would indicate any accidental sewage leaks. He went on to say that most complaints of the odor have been located between around LaRustica Restaurant and about the 5000 block of Beach Drive. Also checked out were the City of Seattle lines that run down Jacobson to the main county line. Where the two lines intersect create what’s called  the SW Alaska Street Seattle Combined Outfall which dumps out into the sound when the Alki overflow treatment plant becomes overwhelmed.



Incidentally, this particular outflow rarely overflows according to report studies (.1% yearly 1987-2007) however it is not uncommon to have some leaky-poos just north at the 63rd St & Alki outflows.



The CSO Status website used by recreational divers and beachcombers has been experiencing technical difficulties and is not showing any real time data for the outflow stations in the immediate area.

King County West Point Treatment is encouraging all residents along the drive to report any stink zones with the exact time they occur. This will go along ways to get to the messy bottom of the mystery. 24 hour odor hotline 206-263-3801

A meeting had been setup between representatives of King County Waste Water Treatment, concerned homeowners and local media for this Friday but has been temporarily postponed.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog


UPDATE September 25, 2015: We received this email from a local resident:

Hi. Thought I would pass along some information about my morning’s experience regarding the odor on Beach Drive.

Last night when the odor intensified, I called the hotline you posted on the Blog (thanks for that information).  This morning around 11:30 a King County representative came to measure the levels of hydrogen sulfide, the likely gas causing the odor.  The couple of manholes out in front of the house had a zero reading for hydrogen sulfide.  At our deck, water side, the reading was .02.  At the bulk head, the reading was .14.  The rep said this was definitely abnormal and KC continues to be perplexed as to the cause but is actively investigating. 

He expected some public announcement next week on the status of the investigation.

Thanks again for the information on the Blog.  Helps to inform and connect us all.

Wind and Waves: Small Craft Advisory

A small craft advisory has been issued for Puget Sound through tonight. With gusts predicted around 30 mph and waves up to 3 to 5 feet, the weather and waves should be spectacular.

The National Weather Service:

A 50 percent chance of rain. Cloudy, with a high near 68. South wind 13 to 20 mph.
Rain likely before 11pm. Cloudy during the early evening, then gradual clearing, with a low around 50. Southwest wind 6 to 13 mph becoming east northeast in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.

From the Puget Sound Marine Forecast:



From Wind Alert  is showing potential gusts of 30 to 34 mph from  2pm to 5pm today.


High tide is predicted to be 9.5 at 11:00 am. As you can see from the chart above, we could have gusts of 25 at that time. Low tide is a 6.52 at 4:32 pm and then rising back to a 9.14 around 10:00 pm.


Wooo weeeeee! “Fauntleroy stench” stink’n up the beaches

Don’t blame it on the dog or over clean the cat box. This mornings low tides and the lack of a good breeze is making it nearly unbearable around Beach Drive. Rotting seaweed or sea lettuce is busy emitting hydrogen sulfide into the air we breath.

The term “Fauntleroy stench” was coined back in the late 1980’s when the the cove and other areas around the sound experienced this same rotten egg sensation. The Seattle Times wrote an article about it during the hot summer 1998 when Fauntleroy residents were complaining of headaches and nausea due to the strong odors.

In small amounts, the gas can burn the eyes, nose and throat, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In moderate amounts, it can bring on headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and respiratory problems.

Contrary to what you might think, opening windows and doors while running fans is the best way to purge the scourge from your home.

Some experts believe that a mild winter combined with a prolonged hot summer is the yummy recipe to bring the stench. If that’s the case, next year could be a real duesey! I just think it smells like Labor Day.



Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog

Golf Balls on the Beach

Beach Drive neighbors Kathy Ludwick & Dan Callan asked to share this on the blog:
Someone on our beautiful Puget Sound waterfront has been practicing their golf swing out over the beach. This is the third time we have collected them over the past year.
We have lived on this beach for 20+ years and have never seen this problem until now. As you can see from the two balls in the center of the photo, with time & tidal action they do fall apart. Which means more plastic in our oceans. Whoever is doing this, please stop. It’s not a harmless pastime in terms of the health of the Sound.
Thank you,
Kathy Ludwick & Dan Callan

Deflated birthday balloons causes massive response off Emma Schmitz memorial park

A rescue response of about two dozen vehicles and several coastguard/police boats converged along the shores of Emma Schmitz Memorial Overlook at around 10:00PM tonight. A witness called in what they thought was a parachuter dropping into the sound about 200 yards off the beach. After 40 minutes of searching, divers and boats at the scene radioed in a large bouquet of mylar balloons floating in the water. Surprise! Close to a hundred or so spectators lined the street to witness the non-event unfold.


A rescue diver assesses the theater…


It was actually nice to see a false alarm for once on this stretch a beach that’s witnessed it’s share of tragedies.


Scupper, reporting for Beach Drive Blog


Scupper on the trail of the Polar Pioneer oil rig

Our intrepid reporter, Scupper, Captain of S/V Pointless, is currently on trail of the Polar Pioneer.

oil platform

Shell’s controversial oil rig is en route to Terminal 5 in West Seattle.

Stay tuned for more pictures from Captain Scupper as I will continue to update this post with photos as I receive them.

UPDATE 2:28 PM:  You can barely see West Seattle in the background as the Polar Pioneer makes her way closer to Terminal 5.

oil west seattle

Captain Scupper says, “There goes the neighborhood.”


Captain Scupper of S/V Pointless has just sent in this picture of the Polar Pioneer with Seattle in the distance.

oil seattle

Along with this close up photo taken of the oil rig from the deck of Pointless.


Captain Scupper does not see any kayakers from Portland…yet…


Captain Scupper has just sent a bunch more photos… they are all starting to look the same to me. Here’s a nice one of the Polar Pioneer posing in front of the Seattle skyline.

oil rig stadium


Captain Scupper thinks he heard over the VHF that the Polar Pioneer is going to start drilling at this spot in Elliott Bay!

oil drill


John C. Stennis CVN 74 returning home


Just another day in the life of living on Beach Drive…

…actually, in the ten years we’ve lived on Beach Drive…this has to the first time I’ve seen this!


It appears to be a photo shoot. I can barely make out the name on the back of the boat “Endurance” with a couple letters following. Any more info on this? I love it when Delta Marine test drives their mega-yachts in our back yard… Endurance  looks like it could a model from Hampton Yachts?

Awoken by a barking sea lion…low flying helicopter over a motorboat… just a typical week! 😉

Waking up to the beautiful sounds of a…

2015-04-15_0730…barking Sea Lion! This morning around 5:30 am, our household was jolted awake by the song of very loud sea lion. As I write this post, he (or she) is currently barking it up in front of Emma Schmitz View Point – enjoy!