"Kids today have it too easy. When I was young, we knew the value of a waste disposal disaster."
When most people screw up at their jobs the worst that happens is a botched Powerpoint slide or an ill-advised e-mail forward. But most people aren't responsible for containing and cleaning all the shit in Greater Seattle.
A switch malfunctioned at the West Point sewage treatment plant on Monday night. So instead of closing, a gate opened, and when it did roughly 10 million gallows of stuff you'd rather not think about got pumped into Elliott Bay.
Plant manager Pam Elardo told the Seattle Times that "this is a big deal, it is not something that should be happening and we want to be sure it doesn't happen again." Which is true. 10 million gallons of crap is a big deal. But thanks to SunBreak, we have an idea for how much less of a big deal this might have been way back when.
According to the very awesome HistoryLink, West Point didn't exist until 1966. So before we treated and chlorinated our crap until it was as clear as Poland Spring we just...let it be. Or, more specifically, we just put it right back into the bay.
By the 1950s, 40 million gallons (four times the amount we're freaked out about now) was being pumped into the sound every day. Not only that, the city engineers responsible for Seattle's waste management, in order to properly dispose of the dirty stuff, had to walk uphill. Both ways. In the snow.