West Seattle power outage update: Tree branch blamed for outage that peaked at more than 3,100 homes, businessesMay 19, 2013 at 6:21 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 117 Comments
(Photo added 7:02 pm, California/Admiral stoplight out, among others)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 6:21 PM: Getting word of outages in Admiral, North Delridge. Anywhere else?
6:28 PM UPDATE: The outage is up on City Light’s site – more than 3,100 homes and businesses, some Alki, Admiral, stretching southeast to North Delridge and High Point. (The image above is a screengrab.) Their site says they’re still investigating the cause; we’re checking with media relations. The outage zone includes some businesses in the Admiral District, including restaurants.
6:38 PM: We had been in the Admiral District literally minutes before this outage hit, and are now heading back that way to check on what’s affected. Please note that stoplights are out on Avalon and reportedly in the Admiral area too – if a stoplight is not working, treat it as a four-way stop. Still seeking information on what caused this.
6:50 PM: Just talked with Mark Van Oss from media relations at City Light. He says they have crews out trying to find out what caused the outage, but haven’t figured it out yet. Meantime, we continue to get reports of businesses out in Admiral – Doug says Safeway is on generator power but not letting more customers in, for example. P.S. If you’re reading this by smartphone, here’s the link to the mobile-friendly version of City Light’s outage map.
7:12 PM: Admiral Theater‘s affected as well as other businesses in the area (Metropolitan Market included as well as previously mentioned grocery store). GM Dinah Brein tells WSB they had to cancel 6:30 pm screenings. (Update: They did get power back in time for the next screenings.) Via Twitter, Circa says it’s closing early because of the outage.
7:28 PM: Multiple commenters reporting their power’s back on. (update) But as other commenters report – not everyone.
7:53 PM: A few more areas – more in Admiral, and at least one commenter on Harbor – are reporting power back. STILL no word on the cause, though.
8:02 PM: Just talked again with Mark Van Oss from SCL – they found the cause; a tree branch on a wire. (He didn’t have information on exactly where, though.) It’s been removed and he says they’re bringing everybody back online slowly – could take another 3/4 hour or so to finish that process.
8:33 PM: The SCL map indicates everybody should have their power back. (If you don’t, let them know – and let us know.) Thanks again to everyone who texted, commented, called, tweeted, e-mailed, and otherwise joined in sharing information these past two hours-plus.
8:52 PM: Followup call from SCL – the errant tree branch was on Ferry Avenue.
The date’s been changed a few times – but King County says the “wet well bypass” is finally under way NOW at the site of the Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project, which means diesel pumps running around the clock for the next few days just north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock. Ahead, the full announcement: Click to read the rest of Noisier in Fauntleroy? Barton Pump Station bypass work begins…
(Recent aerial of the Barton Pump Station work zone, by Long Bach Nguyen)
If you use the Fauntleroy ferry dock or travel through the area, here’s a big announcement from King County as its Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project north of the dock continues:
Starting Thursday [tomorrow], the north ferry entrance lane and toll booth will reopen. The lane and toll booth have been closed since January due to construction activities at the Barton Pump Station. With the opening of the north lane and toll booth, a uniformed police officer will no longer be on site.
During the closure, crews have conducted activities essential to the pump station upgrade, including jet grouting, which is a soil stabilization technique that will allow a safe underground work zone.
As work on the pump station progresses, there may be a need for occasional daytime lane closures. King County will notify commuters and the community of any short-term or day-long lane closures.
What to expect
· There will no longer be a uniformed police officer to direct traffic
· Flagger to continue moving traffic through site and in and out of the ferry terminal entrance, when necessary
· Work to continue on site, beginning with excavation of the pump station
· Heavy equipment on site
· Work hours typically 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday
The West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) closed early last night because of a power outage on its block in The Triangle, and the Y’s Josh Sutton tells WSB it won’t be able to reopen until at least 9 this morning – we’ll update when there’s word it’s ready to open. (This is just the Triangle location; the Fauntleroy location is open as usual.)
Some who live near 63rd/Beach Drive might lose power for a while later today when repairs are made to that pole following a small fire. That’s according to the Seattle City Light staffer who was keeping watch on the area until the repair crew arrived. He says loose wiring sparked the fire. You’ll note in our photo, this is the same pole that houses one of the Seattle Police surveillance cameras (no activation decision for the system yet; here’s our coverage archive).
Here’s what the “No Parking” signs along Fauntleroy between Brandon and Graham are for – Seattle City Light will be out tomorrow, 7 am-8 pm, working on overhead lines along four blocks. It’s part of a system upgrade for an area that’s been operating on an old, low-capacity system, according to SCL – full details on the work and upgrades, here.
As the Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project proceeds next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, a new phase is days away – here’s the explanation from King County:
Starting as early as Monday, April 29, crews will take wastewater flows from underground pipes and move those flows to an above ground bypass – pipes that will run the length of the site directly adjacent to the ferry terminal.
Once completed, the bypass will allow crews to shut down normal pump station operations in order to perform the pump station upgrades. The bypass will connect to a temporary pump station currently under construction. Once the temporary pump station is completed, it will be in use for the duration of the project.
The initial bypass work is expected to take up to two weeks, requiring four days of running two above-ground diesel pumps 24 hours per day.
Reports of discolored water have come in via e-mail, via Twitter, and the WSB Forums tonight – mostly in the Genesee area. Residents who checked with Seattle Public Utilities say they were told fire crews were running the hydrants earlier today; via e-mail, Eileen adds, “They suggested not running much hot water right now since it will fill up your hot water tank w/ sediment. Wish I’d known that before running the dishwasher tonight!” If you’re having this problem tonight – or encounter it some other time – check out this online advice from SPU.
Instead of pile-driving next week at the Barton Pump Station upgrade project work zone next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock, King County Wastewater Treatment Division says tonight it’ll happen a week later, April 22nd through April 25th. However, the announcement notes, “Next week at the pump station, you may notice crews pre-drilling the soil in order to prepare for the pile-driving work.”
A new problem at the Barton Pump Station Upgrade Project site north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock, according to the King County Wastewater Treatment Division: “Jet grout” material (which is similar to concrete, we’re told) from the upgrade work has turned up in an underground transformer vault near the station, and has to be removed. While that removal work happens 7 am-7 pm tomorrow, Seattle City Light will cut power to both the pump station and ferry dock; the county says “two ‘Whisperwatt’ generators” will be in action to replace the cut-off power. In response to this announcement, we’ve asked a few followup questions, and will add the answers when we get them.
Executive director Tara Luckie and board member Rev. Ron Marshall from West Seattle Helpline will be among those at a City Council committee meeting tomorrow to support a proposal aimed at keeping Seattle Public Utilities from shutting off water to homes with children. A news release from the city explains:
Councilmember Jean Godden, chair of the Libraries, Utilities, and Center (LUC) Committee, will discuss legislation tomorrow that will prevent Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) from shutting off water to homes in which children reside.
“This legislation is based on a simple premise: no child should lack access to clean drinking water and sanitation,” said Councilmember Godden.
(Recent aerial of Barton Pump Station and project area, by Long Bach Nguyen)
The King County Wastewater Treatment Division says things might be noisier than usual at Barton Pump Station next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock right now, because a power outage has required them to use a generator:
Power was unexpectedly lost at the Barton Pump Station around 3:45 pm today. No overflows were reported, and crews are currently investigating the cause. A generator will be running onsite until power can be restored to the station.
The Barton Pump Station Upgrade includes an onsite generator, which will be housed in an underground vault, for unexpected power loss such as today’s occurrence.
The pump station also had a power outage last June (WSB coverage here) – and that one DID lead to an overflow.
(Screengrab from City Light map, at peak of outage)
4:28 AM: Another power outage in High Point (thanks to the two residents who just texted us). Not sure how long ago it started, but it’s just appeared on the Seattle City Light map; about 1,000 homes/businesses (aka “customers”) affected. Parts of Gatewood and Morgan Junction are involved again this time too. A similar, though larger (3,200+ customers) area lost power on Wednesday morning; some were out for up to two hours.
4:43 AM: We’re getting reports the power is back, at least for some. Not yet reflected on the SCL map.
5:02 AM: The map now shows the outage over. Since much if not all of the same area was part of the Wednesday morning outage, we’ll follow up with City Light later this morning.
Another effect of the power outage covered here early this morning: The Murray Pump Station at Lowman Beach lost power, leading to an overflow, according to this news release from King County:
King County’s Murray Avenue Pump Station is operating normally after the system was disrupted by a power outage that hit the West Seattle area just before 2 a.m. Wednesday.
An estimated 18,000 gallons of wastewater overflowed for 20 minutes through an emergency outfall into Puget Sound near Lowman Beach Park, which prevented raw sewage backups and equipment damage. Wastewater Treatment Division utility crews responded quickly and deployed a portable emergency generator in the pump station as a source of temporary power.
Division employees notified health and regulatory agencies about the overflow. King County will install a permanent generator at the pump station as part of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) project.
The Murray Avenue station pumps wastewater from West Seattle to the West Point Treatment Plant in Seattle’s Magnolia neighborhood. West Point treats about 133 million gallons of wastewater daily, and up to 440 million gallons during rainy weather.
Construction of the CSO project is scheduled to start later this year; its main component is a million-gallon storage tank replacing a block of residential buildings across from Lowman Beach Park.
(Added 2:34 am: Screengrab from City Light map, at outage’s peak)
1:59 AM: Power went out a few minutes ago here at WSB HQ on the Upper Fauntleroy/Gatewood line. So far we have reports from further north in Gatewood and one in High Point. Nothing on the City Light map just yet (we’re calling). Anyone else?
2:07 AM UPDATE: Pending a drive around to check boundaries, so far via WSB, Facebook, and Twitter reports, Gatewood/Fauntleroy/High Point/Morgan Junction/Seaview are affected. We’ve looked south from outside the house and points south such as Arbor Heights look OK.
2:11 AM UPDATE: Just checked the City Light recording again – they say more than 3,100 homes and businesses are out of power. Estimated restoration time, which is always a guesstimate this early on: 8 am.
2:28 AM UPDATE: It’s on the City Light map now, and the total affected is past 3,200 homes/businesses (aka “customers”). The cause is listed as “investigating.” If you’re seeing a power crew in your area, let us know – the sudden sighting of repair work somewhere may be the first hint of what caused this.
3:06 AM UPDATE: High Point’ers say theirs is back. City Light has sent its first news release but there’s nothing in it we haven’t already reported – no word on the cause, still.
3:13 AM UPDATE: Lots of new information as we correspond with SCL’s John Gustafson – a thousand people have their power back; the cause has been determined as “failed main stem underground cable,” and he adds, “We should continue to see more customers restored in next half hour or so.”
3:20 AM UPDATE: We’re back after about an hour and a half. Thanks again for all the reports – text (206-293-6302 any time with breaking news), e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. – that gave us all an idea on the boundaries long before SCL’s map came online.
3:47 AM UPDATE: Still more than 700 out, according to the City Light map.
POSTSCRIPT: All power was restored by 4:27 am, says SCL – 2 1/2 hours for the last ones to get service back. (Just for the record, though their news release cites a 2:07 am start, since we were in the outage zone, we can verify it was actually around 1:50 am; as the timestamp shows, we launched this coverage around 1:59.)
11:26 AM: Another water-pipe problem beneath a local road – this time, at Ferry on the north end of California SW. Thanks to Trecia and Brian (who sent the photo) for the tips on this. A crew’s been on scene for a few hours, and Brian says the road remains open: “There are traffic cones and SPU personnel diverting traffic. Folks are able to get by in both directions, although there are a few honks because it is tight.”
4:37 PM: Drove by about an hour ago and the crew’s gone; no trace but a patch in the road.
For the second time in two days, Seattle Public Utilities crews are repairing a water problem that’s sent a surge into the streets. Early Sunday, we showed you this scene outside Youngstown Cultural Arts Center; today, thanks to a tip from Lura, we learned about a pipe problem on Beach Drive SW, just south of Weather Watch Park. According to SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin, “SPU was notified around 7:45 am this morning by a passersby that water was in the street. SPU crews are onsite and have determined that there’s a leaky 2-inch pipe. To repair the pipe, crews may need to shut down water services to about 55 homes and two fire hydrants.” There’s a flagger to help traffic get around the repair site.
Two utility notes:
DELRIDGE WATER TROUBLE: If you are in the North Delridge/Pigeon Point area and notice anything odd about your water early today, this might be the cause: Crews were busy early this morning dealing with water gushing up from beneath the street on the east side of Delridge Way SW along the south edge of Youngstown Cultural Arts Center. The water was flowing along the street for blocks, though traffic wasn’t hindered.
POWER OUTAGE TODAY: Ben shared the news about a scheduled Seattle City Light outage today in his neighborhood near 42nd and Raymond, north of Morgan Junction. We checked with SCL, whose Scott Thomsen confirmed to WSB that “there is an outage on Sunday, February 10, from 7 am to 3 pm. A power line needs to be raised to maintain public safety. This requires changing out a bad pole and its transformer and setting a new pole. Thirty-four residential customers and two businesses are affected.”
It’s been years in the making. Today the City Council approved a plan to allow West Seattle’s Nucor plant to get energy-saving credit for energy generation involving waste heat – “cogeneration” – and the project could be up and running next year. Seattle City Light writes about it on its Power Lines site; as pointed out therein, Nucor is City Light’s biggest customer. There are even more details in this slide deck from a presentation to a City Council committee earlier this year.
We first told you last night about a little black cat stuck on a power pole at 46th/Andover – not with the intent of putting out a “somebody help!” call, but with the intent of finding its owner, since neighbors had no idea whose cat it was. Nonetheless, an outpouring of concern resulted, in WSB comments and on the WSB Facebook page – and repeated calls to Seattle City Light brought out a crew to help. Our video shows the rescue, just a short time ago – though as you’ll see, the cat did not want to stay with rescuer Aaron!
One of the lesser-discussed combined-sewer-overflow (CSO) facility projects in the works for West Seattle – a retrofit for the city’s facility in Delridge – will also include a “1% for Art” project. That’s the fund created by the Public Art Ordinance more than a quarter-century ago. The announcement of this comes by way of this call for applications from interested artists:
The Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), seeks an artist or artist team to develop a permanent, site-integrated artwork for the North Delridge Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Retrofit Project. The project is located in West Seattle’s Delridge neighborhood. The call is open to established professional artists residing and eligible to work in the United States. Applications are due 11 p.m., Monday, March 18, 2013 (Pacific Daylight Time). Go to www.seattle.gov/arts for a link to the online application.
Beginning in late 2014, SPU will install new hydraulic controls and active-control technology at the facility, with gates, pumps and sensors that monitor and control the amount of flow that is allowed to enter the downstream sewer system. Based on SPU’s work to retrofit the CSO tank, the selected artist will work with the CSO project design team, SPU staff and community members to design, fabricate and install an artwork at the CSO Tank 168 facility at 2106 S.W. Orchard St. The artwork should focus on the agency’s system-wide stormwater infrastructure and solutions designed to protect local water quality. The artwork should also address stormwater management as it relates to SPU’s work, the local community and natural elements of the nearby Longfellow Creek watershed. The artwork can include a variety of media including light, stone, steel, glass, sound and passive water features.
The Delridge CSO control and storage facilities were constructed in 1982 and were among the first CSO facilities built by the city. They are the city’s largest existing CSO storage facilities, with each tank providing 1.6 million gallons of sewer and stormwater overflow storage. Despite being sized to store a 10-year flood event, sewer overflows into local waterways from each facility have continued to exceed a long-term average of one overflow per year. The retrofit project’s improvements will optimize the performance of the facilities and reduce the frequency and volume of untreated stormwater and raw sewage overflows into Longfellow Creek.
The CSO project is currently in design through mid-2014 and construction is expected to begin in late 2014. Project completion is expected in late 2015. The artist will work with SPU and its consultants to develop an artwork that will be constructed within the project schedule.
The total budget for the artwork project is $200,000 inclusive of all costs to design, fabricate and install the artwork. The artwork is funded by SPU 1% for Art funds and administered by the Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs.
Live and/or work in the Morgan Junction area? Here’s what your community council – the Morgan Community Association – is up to, as discussed at MoCA’s quarterly meeting last night at The Kenney (WSB sponsor):
SEWER-OVERFLOW-CONTROL FACILITY AT LOWMAN BEACH: Doug Marsano from the King County Wastewater Treatment Division brought an update on the Murray (Lowman Beach) combined-sewer-overflow-control storage-tank facility planned across the street from Lowman Beach Park. As shown in our photo above, he brought renderings from the final design – which made the deadline to be submitted to the state by the end of 2012 – which includes some additional view spots for the public related to the wall (as shown in the materials from the December 11th community advisory group meeting). Regarding the timetable – by the time MoCA meets again in April, Marsano said, the buildings on the site will be gone. In the meantime, the county will go to bid soon for the major work on the project, which is expected to be completed by mid-to-late 2016.
Residents in the 37th/Elmgrove area of Gatewood say their water’s just come back on after a while without it tonight. Mark Ahlness tells WSB that city crews explained “it was a broken 8-inch water main on SW Elmgrove,” and that crews have “replaced the broken portion.” Elmgrove has been closed between 35th and 37th for the work. A WSB crew also has just stopped by the scene, and we’re told the road should reopen within a few hours, once the hole dug for the pipe fix has been re-filled.
5:44 PM: Crews are out working on a water break at 24th and Trenton – which is in the Delridge repaving-detour zone. It’s a traffic challenge and may be a slip-sliding risk later with the temperatures expected to go below freezing again tonight.
7 PM: The problem is on the westbound side – the detour side – starting just east of 24th, and the water was still running – not gushing, but running – down the road as of a little while ago.
Always hate to start talking pre-Christmas about what to do with the tree post-Christmas, but in case you’re wondering, Seattle Public Utilities has just sent the information (which gives us another occasion to remind you that if you have Tuesday solid-waste pickup, it’ll be on Wednesday the next two weeks since Christmas/New Year’s are on Tuesdays):
City residents who subscribe to curbside food and yard waste collection can put their Christmas trees and holiday greens out on their regular collection day at no extra charge, from Dec. 26, 2012 to Jan. 13, 2013.
Multi-family buildings can put out one tree next to each food and yard waste cart per collection day at no extra charge during this time.
Trees should be cut into sections of six feet long or shorter, with branches trimmed to less than four feet to fit into the collection trucks. Sections should be bundled with string or twine. Metal, plastic and ornaments in trees and wreaths must be removed.
Trees that are flocked and/or have tinsel or ornaments will be collected as extra garbage. Customers will need to cut the tree into three-foot pieces and each piece will be charged as extra garbage. Each unit of extra garbage costs $8.60. Plastic trees are not recyclable.
Seattle residents can also drop off their holiday trees and greens for free at Seattle Public Utilities’ North and South Recycling and Disposal stations between Dec. 26, 2012 and Jan. 13, 2013. The tree sections must be cut to eight feet or less in length and the trunk must be four inches or smaller in diameter. The limit is three trees per vehicle. Only trees and wreaths without flocking or decoration may be disposed free of charge.
The City of Seattle’s North Recycling and Disposal Station in the Fremont/Wallingford area and the South Recycling and Disposal Station in the South Park area will be closed on Christmas Day, December 25, and New Year’s Day, January 1. The North Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 1350 North 34th Street. The South Recycling and Disposal Station is located at 8105 5th Ave South. The stations are open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
In case you need it again for reference, we’ll add this to the WSB West Seattle Holiday Guide, which will be up and running through New Year’s Day, too.
The King County Wastewater Treatment District says the Monday morning “storm surge” caused some minor damage at the Barton Pump Station expansion project north of the ferry dock. Crews repaired the chain-link fence and concrete barrier blocks, according to a news release:
The storm washed waves and driftwood through the barrier into the construction site. The repaired barrier includes an additional row of concrete blocks to protect against future storm events.
Crew members were on site Sunday to prepare for the approaching storm. All on-site liquids were properly stored and materials from the jet grouting operation were cured. There was no contamination of any materials into Puget Sound.
Crews will continue to monitor site conditions through the winter storm season and will take precautionary measures as needed to protect both the site and Puget Sound.
The construction work is scheduled to continue until late 2014.
Also received late today from SDOT – utility work on the bridge Monday night/Tuesday morning:
City crews will perform high-priority maintenance work on electrical utilities at the western end of the West Seattle Bridge on Monday night, Dec. 17. This work will require drivers coming from Admiral Way SW to make a slight detour as they drive onto the bridge. The crews will begin work at 8:30 p.m. and will have all lanes open again no later than 5 a.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
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