GEORGE, Wash. – Wastewater disposal systems at the Gorge Amphitheatre need improving to keep the public safe at concerts, state health officials say.
“I’m not going to tell you that there is an imminent health crisis there; we just have some concerns,” said Richard Benson, an engineer with the state Department of Health.
The department sent Gorge owner Live Nation a letter, dated May 28, outlining those concerns that include upgrading the septic systems.
They also include the lack of proper disposal for wastewater from hand-washing stations, which now flows through a pipe and directly into the ground; and the lack of data provided to the state on sewage flows during concerts.
Most of the sewage at the Gorge runs into a large drain field, Benson said, but some of it, including water from showers and portable toilets, is collected in holding tanks, then trucked to a disposal site near George.
The May 28 letter was prompted by Live Nation missing an April 30 deadline to renew its large, on-site sewage system permit, he said.
Live Nation added 800 campsites last year.
Benson said he plans to meet Wednesday with Live Nation officials to work on the problems.