West Seattle, Washington
(Screengrab from SPU mapping tool you can use to figure out what kind of “service line” goes to your residence)
3:55 PM: Just out of the WSB inbox:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) said today that two days of extensive testing in five Seattle homes confirms the city’s water continues to be safe to drink.
The utility started testing after learning last week that Tacoma Public Utilities had detected high levels of lead in four water samples taken from galvanized steel service lines.
In response to that information, SPU asked Seattle residents to run their water before using it if the water had not been run for a while. SPU then initiated its own tests to see if the problems reported in Tacoma exist here.
The Seattle test results announced today are well below the action level for lead of 15 parts per billion (ppb). The highest level recorded in Seattle’s tests was 1.95 ppb.
Seattle’s water quality experts worked with five homeowners, distributed throughout the city, with galvanized-steel service lines. They sampled water from the main to the tap, after allowing the water to sit overnight in the pipes.
“This sampling protocol was much more extensive than the standard federal test, and should give customers an added sense of confidence in their water,” said SPU Drinking Water Quality Manager Wylie Harper.
“Seattle Public Utilities is in compliance with U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations,” said Derek Pell of the Washington State Department of Health’s (DOH) Office of Drinking Water. Pell added Seattle’s testing protocol is supported by DOH.
If customers are interested in learning what kind of material — copper, plastic or galvanized steel — the service line that supplies their homes with drinking water is made of, they can use a new online Web tool.
You can navigate to the Web tool by clicking here.
SPU said the test results released today mean Seattle water customers can return to using water as they did before Thursday’s announcement. (EPA, DOH and SPU recommend running the water before drinking.)
SPU’s source water, supplied to 1.3 million people in the region, comes from protected mountain watersheds in the Cascades Mountains and is considered to be some of the best water in the nation.
Seattle regularly tests its water for lead and other contaminants, and has met all requirements of the federal Lead and Copper Rule since 2003.
The utility’s state-of-the-art water quality laboratory analyzes over 20,000 microbiological samples each year — more than 50 a day taken throughout the system — and conducts chemical and physical monitoring daily, 365 days per year.
SPU continues to work with key stakeholders and regulators including DOH, Seattle-King County Public Health, EPA and city departments.
A phone line has been set up for customers with questions: 206-684-5800. Customers can call today until 7 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
9:01 PM UPDATE: As discovered and discussed by commenters, there are some spots on the map where you won’t find the water-line information. We asked SPU, whose Andy Ryan replied: “We know there are some ‘blanks’ in the database. Records were not always well kept or complete and some parts of the city were annexed. If your readers have questions — such as, ‘I can’t find information for my address’ — please ask them to call 684-5800, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.”
(UPDATED 8:11 PM with link to information now posted on SPU website)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
“We think our water’s safe. Having said that, we’re going to make sure there’s no cause for alarm.”
So said Andy Ryan from Seattle Public Utilities when we talked with him a short time ago about a new round of water testing and investigation that SPU has launched because of a situation in Tacoma involving lead.
The two cities’ water systems are NOT linked, but the situation that Tacoma uncovered MIGHT also be happening in a small part of Seattle’s service area, so SPU is advising a specific precaution: Until they find out for sure if the lead problem is happening anywhere here too, any time you have NOT run the water in your home or business for six hours, turn on a faucet and run it for two minutes before using it.
This is NOT just a West Seattle thing, and NOT related to the rust/sediment situation that led to the flushing that’s been happening here (just last night, we were out with the flushing crew and were starting to work on that update, when we found out about this and found ourselves writing this completely different water-system story instead).
What Tacoma has been doing, Ryan explained, is looking for galvanized-steel service pipes in their system that are connected to water mains with “a piece of lead pipe called a gooseneck.” He says Tacoma, Seattle, and many other cities have some of those goosenecks because their systems are so old. But they don’t know exactly where those goosenecks are – many are near older houses “built before good records were kept,” explained Ryan.
SPU DOES know where the galvanized lines connect to the water mains. There will soon be a map on the SPU website showing where those are – about 2,000 in Seattle, they believe. That will help them accelerate looking for the goosenecks. Ryan said there had already been an effort to replace them when crews found them, and they’ve been trying to find ways to step up the search. Tacoma, he explains, came up with a way to test water inside galvanized-pipe areas to look for heightened lead levels, and that’s what led to the current concerns, after a handful of samples came back. “As soon as we learned about this, we immediately started to figure out what that meant for our system,” Ryan told WSB. “Short answer is – we don’t know (yet).” So they’re launching the same kind of testing in the galvanized lines to see what turns up.
It should be noted, though, that Seattle Public Utilities has already been routinely testing its water for lead and other undesirable metals such as copper, “greatly exceed(ing) regulators’ standards.”
We visited the lab (March photo above) for our recent story about “who’s watching your water?” related to the ongoing effort to reduce the incidences of “brown water” here. (And yet again, if you haven’t followed our coverage, “brown water” does NOT involve lead – it’s basically rust that’s stirred up in the cast-iron water mains, and even visible levels of it are not a health risk. Lead is basically invisible. It has not turned up in Seattle tests, Ryan says.)
Meantime, they’re hoping to get some samples back “really quickly” to see if what Tacoma found “is applicable here.” Since the locations of possible problems aren’t known yet, “we are asking everyone to just be extra cautious – run your water for two minutes if it’s been sitting in the pipe for more than six hours.” That’s being advised out of “an abundance of caution,” he stresses. “Prior to hearing back from Tacoma, we had not considered, nor had regulators considered, these galvanized pipes and gooseneck fittings to be an issue.” There are some differences between how Tacoma and Seattle run their systems, he notes, particularly the treatment methods, which could lead to a different level of corrosion in their pipes, in turn meaning that what’s detected there will NOT turn up here. But they have to find out.
Until you hear otherwise from SPU, follow the “run the water for two minutes after it’s been in the pipes for six hours” advice TFN. Keep watch for a map on their website showing the “general areas of the 9,000 galvanized service lines, maybe four percent of all our service lines. 2,000 of those might have the gooseneck fittings.” (Those fittings used lead because it was more flexible and less likely to break, he explained.)
If you have questions – SPU already has a special phone number: 206-684-5800.
When the aforementioned map, and any other information, is online, we’ll link that here too.
BOTTOM LINE: For now, SPU is asking *everyone* to run their water for two minutes after six hours of non-use. (So, when you wake up, and when you get home from work, if your residence is empty during the day.) That will soon be narrowed down to the 9,000 or so customers who are connected to water mains via galvanized-steel piping. The lead goosenecks are only believed to be in use for a quarter of those connections, but that will be the most difficult thing for SPU to narrow down.
8:11 PM UPDATE: SPU’s website now has information, linked from its left sidebar, which points you to this page. No location information yet on where the city believes it has the galvanized piping that could be connected to the aforementioned lead-containing gooseneck fittings, but it promises, “More information about potentially impacted homes will be posted here soon.”
We checked in today with Seattle Public Utilities, whose crews are getting ready for Night 3 of a months-long process to flush rust/sediment out of the West Seattle water system, to reduce the recurring brown-water problems that have hit various parts of our area since last fall.
So far, SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin tells WSB, “The crews are still working out the flushing process and have been making some field adjustments to achieve the results we need. So far they have completed four flushes (2 Sunday and 2 Monday). We were hoping to complete 3 to 4 flushes per night, but we’ve run into some problems with operating some of the older valves.”
Tonight, she says they’re expected to be at three locations: 44th/Lander, 45th/Stevens, and, for some “pre-flushing” work, 44th/Spokane. Remember that – as was apparently the case Sunday night – the flushing itself can lead to temporarily discolored water as that water heads out of the system; if at any time you have a problem that persists, notify SPU at 206-386-1800.
BACKSTORY: The plan to flush West Seattle’s pipes this spring/summer was announced three weeks ago. Then on April 8th, SPU shared the map of the first area to be flushed, along with other details. On Sunday, just as the flushing was about to start, we took a closer look at the water-system workings, in part a followup to our March 22nd report on how SPU monitors and tests local drinking water – for “flavor” as well as safety.
11:32 AM: Thanks for the tips – parents of students at Pathfinder K-8 on Pigeon Point mentioned getting e-mail from the school that the power’s out, and a few other people have mentioned losing power for a short time in other areas of east West Seattle (Highland Park, Westwood). Seattle City Light‘s outage map is itself out right now so we can’t use that for a reference. Seattle Public Schools confirms Pathfinder is out; City Light is checking for us to see if anyone else is and what’s going on.
12:21 PM: Scott Thomsen from SCL says, “It was a momentary interruption of two feeder lines caused by a tree making contact with the wires.”
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
That big tank on SW Barton, about halfway between Westwood Village and the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock – officially known as the Barton Standpipe – is empty and decommissioned.
We didn’t know that until our recent visit to Seattle Public Utilities‘ Operations Control Center in SODO:
At the heart of that visit was a preview of the big flushing operation that SPU is about to start in West Seattle in hopes of lessening the recurring brown-water problems we’ve been covering since last fall. (Even today, we’ve received scattered reports of discoloration – no word on the cause this time.) We published our first flush preview on March 31st, and then followed up on April 8th with the first look at what was being mailed out to local homes.
Now, months of targeted flushing is about to begin in the area shown on this map:
SPU was planning to start with test flushes late tonight at California/Spokane and 49th/Spokane (11:34 pm update: they’re under way, as shown in our quick added video clip).
They’ll be working out the process for a night or two. So we’re taking the opportunity to report the rest of the story behind how SPU gets water to you.
King County Wastewater Treatment Division reps assured FCA that the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project will be done by the end of the year – the county, in fact, they insisted, is “highly motivated” to finish it by then. The facility itself, a million-gallon tank meant to keep most combined-sewer overflow from spilling into Puget Sound, should be operational by early October. That isn’t the end of the project – next fall and winter will bring restoration of Lowman Beach Park, where an underground pump station is undergoing upgrades and where construction trailers and some other project support has been staged; a ribbon-cutting and celebration is expected to happen next spring.
In the far more immediate future, 6,000 homes in the area are about to get a mailer with the final timeline, and you’re invited to an “information session” at the site two weeks from tonight, Tuesday, April 26th, 5 pm-7 pm.
BACKSTORY: After five-plus years of talking and planning, construction began more than 2 1/2 years ago with demolition of the block of residential buildings that had been on what’s now the tank site. When operational, it’s expected to reduce the number of Puget Sound-polluting overflows – which typically happen during major storms – from an average of five a year, to one.
One week after we first reported that Seattle Public Utilities plans a huge flushing operation intended to lessen the recurring brown-water problems, SPU has settled on where and when it will begin. Word is going out in postal mail today, with a map, announcement, and FAQ. SPU plans to start the flushing the week of April 18th in this area:
That entire area will not be flushed on the same day – it’ll be different neighborhoods on different days (more like, nights) from April through June. Here’s the text of the letter that will accompany the map:
Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will begin flushing water mains in West Seattle starting the week of April 18, 2016. The map on the back of this page shows the area in purple that will be flushed first (from April through June). Eventually more water mains throughout West Seattle neighborhoods will be flushed, which will take several months to complete.
SPU is performing this major water-main flush to help maintain water quality and reduce the uptick in discolored water that some West Seattle customers have been experiencing since last summer. Flushing won’t eliminate discolored water, but it will help decrease it.
What do customers need to do? Residents and businesses do not need to take any action to prepare for this work. Customers will be able to use their water as usual. When crews are flushing nearby, customers may notice a slight reduction in their water pressure. They may also see temporary discolored water, which should clear quickly once crews are done flushing the water main. Running the cold water for a few minutes can also help clear the discoloration.
Why does discolored water occur? Discolored water can happen when crews operate a fire hydrant, when there is a water main break or leak, or when the water in the pipes is forced to travel in a different direction than normal. When one of these events happens, naturally occurring sediment in the water and rust in the pipes get stirred up, causing the water to look discolored.
Flushing the water mains will remove some of the sediment and rust that has been resting in the pipes. This will help reduce the level of discoloration and the time it takes for the water to clear when there’s a disturbance in the pipes.
Is the water safe? Yes. Every single day, SPU takes samples throughout the system of the drinking water that it provides to 1.4 million people. The water is tested for contaminants and is regulated by the Washington State Department of Health. Seattle’s water remains safe to drink.
Questions or concerns: If you have any questions or concerns about the flushing process or discolored water, please read through the “Frequently Asked Questions” sheet that is enclosed with this mailing. If you experience any problems with your water, contact SPU’s 24-hour emergency line at 206-386-1800.
We thank you for your patience and understanding while SPU strives to continue to provide some of our nation’s best drinking water.
Also being mailed with the map and letter, a two-page list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers – read them here. And in the meantime, if you get discolored water, wherever you are, whenever it happens, SPU wants to hear from you at that same number, above, the one we’ve been publishing in brown-water coverage since last fall.
After a flurry of discolored-water reports started flowing in last night after 9 pm, we promised to follow up today with Seattle Public Utilities. The response is just in from spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin:
SPU crews conducted two hydrant flow tests last night in West Seattle: one in the vicinity of 48th Ave. SW and Waite St, and the other one on Delridge Way. The hydrant tests are a mandated requirement by the City of Seattle for new construction projects.
As you know, any time there is a disturbance in the water main, discolored water can happen. Last night’s hydrant tests caused discolored water for some customers in those areas where the tests took place. Since last night, SPU has received about 50 calls from customers in West Seattle related to discolored water.
SPU does not typically notify customers in advance about routine, day-to-day maintenance work that crews complete quickly and has a low impact or no impact on customers. However, we understand that many West Seattle residents are acutely aware of discolored water, have been experiencing persistent problems since last summer and want to be informed when SPU knows there might be a disturbance in the water system. SPU needs to do a better job communicating in advance to customers when we know there is planned, day-to-day work by SPU crews that can cause discolored water. We are working on developing and implementing a method to do so soon.
The unidirectional flushing that is scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks will not eliminate discolored water, but will help reduce the intensity and duration of discolored water when it does occur. SPU will be sending customers information explaining the work, an FAQ that will answer some questions and a map that shows the areas that will be flushed. Customers, who live in West Seattle neighborhoods where the flushing will start in April, should look for a mailing from SPU to arrive next week.
We had first word of the “unidirectional flushing” plan in this story last Thursday.
10:32 PM: Suddenly in the past half-hour or so, we’re getting reports of brown water in at least two areas of West Seattle, North Admiral and North Delridge. No, it’s NOT the “West Seattle flush” we first told you about last week – that’s not supposed to get going before mid-month. If you’re seeing brown water, tonight or any other time, please call Seattle Public Utilities‘ 24-hour hotline, 206-386-1800. (So far, one North Delridge resident said she was told it’s a hydrant flush; the North Admiral situation seems to be a mystery. But please call if you’re seeing it – that’ll help them sleuth.)
TUESDAY, 9:20 AM: We’re still hearing from people experiencing this; we’re checking with SPU but that’s no substitute for you calling them directly if it’s happening at your house and you haven’t called already. From our recent visits to and reports about SPU’s system, we can tell you the “sediment” to which they refer is basically rust from the old cast-iron water mains that constitute much of the system in this area (among others), not unhealthy but certainly unappetizing, and the upcoming flushing operations are aimed at getting some of it out of the system so that changes in routine such as hydrant operations or leaks/breaks don’t have as much of it to stir up.
(Reader photo from a brown-water situation earlier this month)
By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
After months of intermittent but intense West Seattle brown-water incidents that we’ve been covering – going back to last fall – the city is making plans for a major operation to try to attack the underlying problem: Rust in the pipes.
The rust isn’t unusual and isn’t unhealthy, Seattle Public Utilities stresses – but there shouldn’t be this much of it stirred up when something happens such as a hydrant opening or pipe break, and it should clear faster (as commenters have pointed out, it often lingers longer than they were told it would).
So SPU is planning a “unidirectional flush” – something that utility managers say hasn’t been done anywhere in the city in more than a decade.
It’s not one big operation at one time but will play out over the course of months. We got an early briefing during a visit to the SPU Operations Control Center, following up on our recent behind-the-scenes look at how water safety and quality is monitored.
We met there with drinking water quality director Wylie Harper and other SPU water managers, including operations director Dave Muto. First, some context. Two-thirds of the 1,800 miles of pipeline in SPU territory is unlined cast iron – and this is the primary source of what discolors the water in certain circumstances:
(UPDATE: Power came back for almost everyone at 2:20, after 3 1/2 hours; Admiral reported open again at 5:50 am)
FIRST REPORT, 10:52 PM: It isn’t on the Seattle City Light map yet but we’re getting multiple reports of a power outage. Some reporting it say they’re near The Junction, some are south of Admiral. We have a photographer checking out a crash on Admiral Way that might have taken out lines.
10:54 PM: WSB’s Christopher Boffoli is at the crash scene on Admiral Way between 49th and Garlough [map] and confirms “City Light just cut the power.”
10:56 PM: The power outage is still NOT on the City Light map. We’re hearing from folks all over Admiral and points south. Southernmost report so far is Fauntleroy/Dawson.
11 PM: Now we’re hearing it’s back, at least for some. City Light finally shows the extent that it at least had – more than 4,400 customers.
Meantime, Christopher says Admiral might be closed for some hours at the crash scene because of the pole’s condition. He also reports, “No injuries. SFD tells me that the driver said he was texting. Also claimed he didn’t have insurance. Car appears to be a large SUV of some kind.”
11:12 PM: Those still without power number 1,500+ homes and businesses, per the City Light map.
11:18 PM: While headed back to his HQ to process images, Christopher tells us, he observed: “Traffic lights out at Admiral and 47th, but on and functioning normally at California and Admiral. And the entire Admiral District retail area seems to have power.” Thanks to Ted for the updated outage map image in comments – here it is if you haven’t seen it there:
SCL says via Twitter that repairs could take “4 to 6 hours.” They had to de-energize the lines because the leaning pole sent wires into tree(s) that started catching fire.
11:35 PM: Commenter asked about food safety in multi-hour outages. Here’s advice from the feds. Meantime, we’re adding a few more images from the crash scene. Also, a request – if you’re up when the power goes back on, please text us – 206-293-6302 – we’re not in the outage zone and the City Light maps don’t show when power is restored, only the time it went out. Thanks!
12:09 AM: No change in the City Light map info. We’ll be checking back periodically.
2:25 AM: Just received two texts from people in North Admiral saying their power’s back on.
5:27 AM: According to SDOT, Admiral Way has not yet reopened. This is affecting bus routes too:
Transit Alert – Routes 50, 56 and DART 775 are rerouted off of SW Admiral Way between 49 Ave SW and 59 Ave SW – due to a blockage. UFN.
— King County Metro (@kcmetrobus) March 24, 2016
5:52 AM: Metro just sent an alert that the road is open again and buses are back to normal.
Story and photos by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor
It’s an almost-sacred trust: You turn or pull a handle to open a faucet in your home, and you expect clear, clean water to flow.
Unlike many areas of the world – as is being amply pointed out today, World Water Day – if you have lived here all or most of your life, it’s something you might not think twice about.
That’s why, for those who experienced “brown water” in recent months – as reported here repeatedly, starting when Myrtle Reservoir was offline for work but continuing intermittently even after it went back online – it was so startling, even when reassured that the water’s safe to use. Compounding the concerns is news from elsewhere, particularly the crisis in Flint, Michigan.
So that led some readers to ask, who’s routinely watching the water here, and how?
There, not only does SPU monitor and test samples from around its service area (the entire city and a few areas beyond) through a variety of lab procedures, it also convenes a twice-monthly gathering of taste testers. (To be precise – they test flavor, not taste. More on that shortly.)
7:30 PM: Another round of brown-water reports tonight – we’ve heard from people in several areas we would generally describe as north West Seattle. The first thing we’ve advised, as always: Call Seattle Public Utilities‘ hotline at 206-386-1800. We have also contacted SPU’s communication team, and will update with whatever they find out is going on. (Also note: This is the SPU webpage with general advice about what to do if your water is discolored.)
(Added: Photo sent by Michelle)
8:24 PM: We’ve just talked with Andy Ryan from SPU. He says an SPU crew was using a hydrant in the 3200 block of Belvidere and that’s what stirred up the sediment in the lines. A water-quality inspector is following up on the reports the SPU hotline has received, but Ryan stresses that the water is safe to drink/use – but let it run as advised in the link we featured above.
P.S. Later this week, we’ll be publishing a report taking a closer look at how SPU monitors and tests drinking water, after a visit to its lab in SODO.
ADDED TUESDAY AFTERNOON: SPU tells us today they had about a dozen calls last night and half a dozen this morning. (If you have NOT called and are seeing discolored water, please call them!) SPU’s Ryan says the crew that used the hydrant did not let the water run as long as they should have – until it’s clear – and so, “We will be doing more training to ensure our crews understand their responsibilities in this regard.”
We’re continuing to track brown-water reports in West Seattle – the city says they’re not unusual, with some days bringing 40-50 around Seattle. Today we’ve heard from people near 49th/Dakota and 56th/Andover. As always, we asked them to call the number Seattle Public Utilities gave us for brown-water reports weeks ago – 206-386-1800. Both reported being told that SPU doesn’t have any reports of line breaks or projects today, but that if it’s not SFD testing hydrants – which is done without notification to SPU – it might be work at the new Genesee Hill Elementary project stirring up sediment in the lines. Meantime, we’re working on a big-picture followup for later this week about how water quality is monitored on an ongoing basis. SPU has general “what to do if the water looks weird” info here.
Seattle Public Utilities says an average day could bring dozens of brown-water reports from around the city, for a variety of reasons. Again today, we’ve heard about a few, and here’s what we’ve found out. One report came from 44th SW between Charlestown and Andover, and in the area, we found the crew above, which told us they were doing sewer-pipe work. However, SPU’s Andy Ryan tells us that sewer work and water discoloration are NOT linked – the more likely cause is “a scheduled shutdown early this morning in the area, along California Avenue from SW Dakota to SW Charlestown. Anytime there is a shutdown, people in the area can experience brown water —even if they were not in the scheduled shutdown area.” Once again, if you have water trouble, SPU wants to hear from you – 206-386-1800. There’s also an SPU webpage with some general advice about dealing with water discoloration – find it here.
9 AM: When we first heard about discolored water in Admiral/Belvidere yesterday morning, we advised people to call Seattle Public Utilities – 206-386-1800 – and received early word back that customers were being told it was just hydrant testing, so we didn’t pursue it further, but should have; more reports came in many hours later, and we pinged SPU’s communications team to find out if it was really something more. This morning we finally have the answer, from SPU spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin: “A hydrant on Belvidere was being used to fill up a vactor truck. This action caused customers to experience discolored water. In this case, it took longer than normal for the discolored water to clear. SPU apologizes to customers for the inconvenience. Testing and use of the hydrants for purposes other than firefighting is required periodically.”
9:24 AM: In response to our followup questions: “Our vactor trucks carry water and they need to fill up from time to time, which is pretty common. This was not a testing situation. Pulling water from this hydrant certainly caused more sediment to be disturbed than normal. Our field crews are aware of the problem and will be working to minimize this type of issue in the future.”
Thieves and scammers to tell you about tonight in West Seattle Crime Watch:
GROCERY THIEF ON VIDEO: John in High Point, near Lanham and Graham, sent this video:
He says that person took two items off his porch including a bag of groceries that had been delivered, and appeared to join an accomplice on the sidewalk, pushing a shopping cart away. If you have any leads on the thief’s identity, HP’s Community Police Team Officer Kevin McDaniel is on the case; his contact info is here.
SIGN THIEVES/VANDALS: Jane in Delridge shares the photo and report:
Well, this is pretty sad. One would think that in a racially diverse neighborhood like Delridge, this wouldn’t occur. But, I put up a “Black Lives Matter” sign in my front yard, and after about a week, my neighbor found it in his trash. It made him mad, so I put up another one and we got him one too. Every couple of days, one or the other would get knocked over or stolen and we’d just replace it. A third neighbor also got into the act so the signs were on three houses in a row. Finally, after having about six or seven signs stolen, I put up the signs you see in the photo. Two days up and so far, so good. I haven’t been home today — the sign may have gotten blown away in the wind. But I have a bunch more. It’s hard to think of who might have done this, but I hope at some point he or she finds some peace in their own life.
WALLET THIEF: Lindsey wants to remind you to “watch your pockets.” She says a pickpocket stole her man’s wallet and keys while they were at a Junction bar recently, and he apparently wasn’t the only one targeted.
PHONE SCAM: David at Moondrop Coffee e-mailed today to say they’d been targeted by the relentless “City Light” scammers – and wanted to remind their fellow businesspeople, in particular, to be vigilant. We’ve reported many times on these scammers – who call and insist a bill is overdue and that shutoff is imminent unless money is provided. As the utility reiterates here, they don’t work that way.
One week ago tonight, we reported on Seattle Public Utilities crews investigating a sewer-line problem at 41st/Genesee on the north side of The Junction, next to Seattle Lutheran High School. Tonight, we have word from SPU that they’ll be doing repair work this weekend, scheduled for 7 am-6 pm both days unless they finish early – and if it takes longer, it’ll continue into Monday. They determined the pipe break is at the top of the slope, and closed the walkway between 41st and Genesee until repairs are complete, as well as installing a pump bypass system. To fix it, SPU’s Marieke Rack says, “SPU will stage crews and equipment in the 41st Avenue SW dead-end above Genesee Street. SPU’s excavation area is approximately 28’ south of the maintenance hole (which is near the jersey barrier). We will have 2 dump trucks, an excavator, and a crew truck and trailer on site.”
We mentioned this briefly in coverage of last week’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting, and today we have full details as Seattle Public Utilities is sending notice to neighbors of its next pump-station project, which will affect Fauntleroy ferry-dock users too, and drivers who use the electric-vehicle-charging stations at the dock.
Next month, SPU will start what could be up to four months of work at its pump station on the south side of the ferry dock:
It’s replacing “a sewer mainline through an underground horizontal drilling operation located along the pedestrian pathway and vehicle-lane area” as well as removing and replacing “mechanical and electrical pump-station components.” It’s a ~$400,000 project, according to online documents from the bidding process.
The project will close the King County Metro-managed parking lot on the southeast side of the dock, which means the five electric-vehicle charging stations in that lot, among the few publicly available in West Seattle, will be unavailable during the project. SPU says they are usually available to the public Mondays-Fridays, 7 am-3 pm. The vehicles that usually use the parking lot, vanpool vans, “will be relocated to designated street parking on Fauntleroy Way SW and SW Wildwood Place,” according to the SPU notice. The southbound bus stop by the lot is to remain open.
The ultimate goal of the upgrade, according to SPU, is to reduce sewer overflows into Puget Sound. We’ve asked a followup question about how many overflows this station, officially known as Pump Station 70, has had. This is a city project/facility, and so it’s separate from the county-owned Barton Pump Station on the other side of the dock, which just finished a multi-year upgrade project last year, and the county’s Murray Pump Station north of nearby Lincoln Park, which is getting upgrades while the combined-sewer-overflow-control facility is built across the street from Lowman Beach.
8:31 AM: No official acknowledgment yet but reports of a Comcast outage are increasingly widespread. First we heard from A. south of Admiral, then from Cami on Alki, Teresa in Gatewood, Noodle in Morgan, and we’re having trouble in Upper Fauntleroy. Anybody else?
8:50 AM: Comcast is responding to multiple complaints (not just in this region) via its @comcastcares account, to which its @comcastwa account is referring people. The basic reply line: “We are working on restoring this as fast as possible.”
8:56 AM: Maybe a relatively short outage, though widespread (usually they’re fairly localized) – some are reporting it’s back.
ADDED 7:54 PM: As suggested in comments, seems the trouble was in multiple areas around the country, not just here.
If you see extra equipment at the 63rd Avenue Pump Station in South Alki – King County Wastewater Treatment Division is bringing in a temporary generator truck after the station’s main electrical breaker failed. Spokesperson Annie Kolb-Nelson says this is not related to ongoing upgrade work, but: “Unfortunately, the generator may be noisy to the near neighbors. The good news is that we will be able to minimize its use, because it will only be needed during storms and high flows, and it looks like drier weather is in the forecast starting Saturday.” Repairs could take up to two weeks, she adds. A flyer has been sent to neighbors, with this number for questions: 206-263-9453.
12:26 PM: Not that the weather is particularly conducive to a walk/ride around Alki Point, but we did want to remind you that the sidewalk is closed and road narrowed along Beach Drive west of 63rd SW, as King County Wastewater Treatment Division continues to work on emergency sewer-pipe repairs. We first reported on the problem Friday morning; the county is fixing a leak in the “42-inch pipeline that pumps wastewater from homes and businesses in West Seattle to King County’s West Point Treatment Plant in the Magnolia neighborhood.” Some wastewater spilled into Puget Sound, so avoid contact with the water in the area until the county’s tests show it’s safe.
We have messages out to get an update on how much longer the repair work is expected to last and will update when we hear back; the county has already said crews are likely to be back next week for restoration work, once the repairs themselves are done.
1:47 PM UPDATE: We just heard back from Monica Van der Vieren at KCWTD. She tells WSB:
The leak came from a joint where a gasket seal had failed. The crews unearthed the pipe, working in the landscaped planter box area, to repair the joint, and bury it in concrete. Crews are demobilizing now for the weekend. They will leave construction fencing and signage up over the weekend as the concrete cures, and restore the landscaped area next week (hopefully Monday if plants are available).
Water quality monitoring results are not yet back, so the warning signage will remain. King County’s Environmental Lab staff sampled again today. When Public Health receives two days of sample data at background levels, they will give the all-clear to remove the signs.