When Tyson Wright stepped out on his deck for coffee one recent morning, he noticed something was missing. A buoy off Gorsuch Beach that normally marks an outfall pipe where treated wastewater goes to Puget Sound from our Vashon Treatment Plant was gone.
Wright immediately called WTD Treatment Plant Operator Michael Losby to report its absence.
Soon after that, another alert neighbor in a rowboat, Catherine Hennessey, spotted the heavily-chained buoy just south of Dolphin Point. She hauled it to shore, photographed it and notified the U.S. Coast Guard of its location.
The Coast Guard reported back to our Vashon Plant operators and we were able to retrieve the buoy in our SoundGuardian research vessel.
Because a drifting buoy could pose hazards to Puget Sound boaters, we’re grateful these watchful neighbors helped us recover it so quickly.
Losing a buoy is rare, but marine environments are harsh, with strong winds, stiff currents and corrosive salt water. All these factors contributed to the rusting and weakening of the buoy’s anchor chain.
We’re now working with the Coast Guard and other agencies on a plan to reinstall the buoy at our Vashon outfall.
In the meantime, much credit is due to Mr. Wright and Ms. Hennessey for a positive outcome on this story. Thank you, Mr. Wright and Ms. Hennessey!
If you’re nearby one of our facilities and see (or smell) something that isn’t quite right, or for general questions about a sewer-related issue or construction project, check out our online Reporting a Problem page.