West Seattle, Washington
6:33 PM: That’s the Seattle City Light map showing the extent of a power outage that started shortly after 6 pm in Brace Point and part of The Arroyos. SCL says 327 customers – homes/businesses – are affected, but no word yet on the outage’s cause. The estimated restoration time is ~9:28 pm but remember that’s just a guess – could be sooner, could be later. (Thanks for the tips, and let us know when the power’s back – 206-293-6302 text or voice – thanks!)
7:18 PM: About half those who originally lost power have it back – 159 are still out, per the map, which now attributes the outage to “equipment failure.”
12:11 AM: The map still shows those customers out after 6 hours, with the restoration estimate now moved back past 2 am. We’ll be asking City Light later today for more information on what failed.
5:30 AM: Around 3 am, the outage area on the SCL map reverted to the original 327 customers. There’s now a restoration estimate of ~8:26 am.
9:23 AM: Just talked to Tyson Lin of SCL. He says the problem is in an underground vault and it’s taking a long time because crews first had to be able to get into the vaults safely – which involved, among other things, pumping out water with vacuum trucks – and then had to test each cable individually to figure out where the problem is. They’re still in the testing phase, Lin says, which they hope to finish by 11 am, and then restoration and repair, assuming they are able to find the specific problem, could take until 3 pm. We also asked why the additional customers lost power again at 3 am; that was because a particular cable had to be deactivated so they could safely reach others for testing.
11:21 AM: Just checked the SCL map for the first time in about an hour and a half and it shows the outage has ended – if your power isn’t back, be sure to call 206-684-3000 to make sure they know.
Two more updates related to the Spokane Street cleanup, now that we’ve arrived at the end of the week. We had asked city spokesperson Julie Moore for some stats and “what’s next,” and here’s that information:
Over the two-day cleanup all along Spokane Street (trash pickup and encampment removal from near the bike trail), the City removed approximately 108 tons of trash and debris. As I described in my earlier email, the area along the bike trail where tents were removed on Wednesday will be an emphasis area and once posted, the City will remove new tents that may try to locate there.
While we are considering options for moving the RVs from that location, we do not have an immediate timeline for doing so. In general, the City is focusing efforts on working with individuals in tent encampments, especially the ones with the greatest public health and safety concerns for the individuals and the surrounding community. The Navigation Team is connecting with those individuals to find solutions that fit their needs and will help move them into safer living situations. Other City crews are addressing the trash related to encampments and illegal dumping in general around the city.
In the meantime, some of the individuals living in the RVs have been collecting trash in bags and setting it out for pickup. The City is amenable to working with them to continue the effort to manage their own trash as we work on a longer-term plan for moving people to alternative shelter or housing situations.
Our crews have repaired nine of the lights under the West Seattle Bridge. Six remain out. Repairing those requires creating clearance around ground vaults where RVs are currently parked. We’re working with Finance and Administrative Services on a plan for when and how that can be done. That work can be accomplished without moving all the RVs.
We’ve also been asking him about the lights that are out on the high bridge, since some commenters wondered about those – Thomsen’s update on that: “We continue to work with SDOT to restore the lights on top of the bridge; that work could be done in about a week.”
As reported here this morning, the promised cleanup is under way along Spokane Street, east of the low bridge, including the area where a bicyclist was attacked last week while riding home from West Seattle. She and others, including West Seattle Bike Connections, pointed out that lights were out on that stretch of the trail and had been out – and reported as out – for months; Seattle City Light said the cleanup, and the sweep of tents encroaching on the path, would facilitate repairs. Today we checked back with SCL spokesperson Scott Thomsen, who told us the lights should be working by week’s end:
We have had workers out there this week, making repairs to lights and wiring where they could work safely. We continue to coordinate our work with the City, which is cleaning up the site to allow our workers better access to the equipment they need to fix. We expect to complete repairs and have the lights back on before dark Friday night.
Meantime, the cleanup operation will continue tomorrow; we went back through the area about an hour ago and there’s clearly still work to do, with bags of trash remaining along the south side of westbound Spokane, just east of where a backhoe was clearing a large dumpsite under the elevated roadway during our visit this morning.
Thanks to Lisa at CAPERS in The Junction for the heads-up after getting a scam call:
I just had someone call saying they were from Seattle City Light and that if I didn’t pay my bill in 20 minutes they would shut off my service. They also asked for a credit card to satisfy the bill.
She didn’t fall for it because she knew that’s NOT how City Light works – this is a phone scam that’s been going on for years, but it’s worth another reminder, since they’re obviously still getting some victims, or else they wouldn’t keep trying. Here’s the City Light webpage dedicated to stopping the scammers – with this advice:
If you suspect a scam attack or have questions regarding your bill, call our Customer Care Center at 206.684.3000 as well as the Seattle Police Department at 206.625.5011.
Seattle City Light has just gone public with its next round of locations for utility-pole replacements, in Gatewood, Upper Fauntleroy, Highland Park, and Burien. Embedded above (and also available on the SCL website) are five 2-page flyers for different areas, each one with its own map(s) – note that what you see above is the first of FOUR map pages, one every other page, so be sure to scroll through or check the SCL website directly; below, the announcement from SCL:
Starting in mid-to-late March 2017, Seattle City Light’s contractor, Magnum Power LLC, will be replacing aging utility poles in parts of its service territory. This project will enhance electrical reliability by replacing older poles in the system. The installation of new poles, wire and equipment relocation is an important investment in infrastructure.
Crews will be working in the following areas:
· SW Elmgrove St to SW Sullivan St (east of California Ave SW)
· SW Holden St to SW Southern St (west of 35th Ave SW)
· SW Thistle Street to SW Henderson St (west of 35th Ave SW)
· SW Kenyon St to SW Trenton St (east of Delridge Way SW)
· SW 122nd St to SW 126th St (west of 1st Ave S)
Highlights from the project:
· The entire project is anticipated for completion by the end of 2017. Daily work hours are from Monday through Thursday, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Crews may be working in other areas before transitioning to these construction areas.
· The new poles will be placed alongside pre-existing poles. They will meet standard heights and widths required for overhead power line construction. This may mean that poles in your area will be slightly taller and approximately two inches wider than existing poles.
· Once the electrical equipment is relocated, it may take several months before the other companies with utilities on the existing poles make their transfer(s). We will continue to monitor/coordinate these efforts as needed to facilitate the removal of old poles.
For more information, customers can contact:
· Percy Schlimm, Sr. Electrical Service Representative at email@example.com or (206) 386-1735.
· Kevin Knutz, Magnum Power Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 904-8318.
SCL says that if you’re affected, you’ll be getting all this information directly, too. (This round includes our area of Upper Fauntleroy, we notice, so we’ll be watching to see when the direct customer communication arrives.)
ADDED NOON WEDNESDAY: For the record, our notice arrived via postal mail this morning.
4:49 AM: Also parts of Puget Ridge, Riverview, South Park, White Center – we’ve added a screengrab from the outage map. No word yet on the cause. The SCL map has a restoration-time estimate of 11 am but as we always remind you during power outages, that is just a guess, could be much earlier, could be much later. And please remember if you are driving before the power’s back on – any signalized intersection where the signal’s out or flashing means it’s an all-ways stop.
5:34 AM: Getting texts (thank you!) saying power’s back on. Waiting to see via the map if it’s back for everyone.
5:38 AM: Map has updated. Down to 500+ customers, in White Center (mostly Greenbridge vicinity):
6:07 AM: And it’s halved to 240 customers, north Greenbridge. “Equipment failure” is now listed as the cause.
8:44 AM: SCL says the equipment that failed is a switch, and it’s being replaced. They hope to have everybody back up and running by 1 pm.
Another followup on the 24th SW/SW Kenyon sinkhole that got a Waste Management truck stuck for a while back on Monday afternoon: More about the cause, and the repairs, from Seattle Public Utilities spokesperson Rachel Ramey:
SPU located a damaged 15-inch drainage pipe under the street that was clogged with debris and tree roots. Crew members cleaned the downstream pipe to remove debris. Repair crews will be onsite Sunday 7:30 am to 8 pm and Monday 7:30-5 pm for repairs. SPU expects to complete pipe repairs and a temporary patch on the roadway by mid-week, next week. SDOT permanent street repair will follow.
We had already reported Tuesday that a stormwater pipe was to blame, but this adds information about the size and scope of that problem.
Seattle Public Utilities was back today at the 24th SW/SW Kenyon intersection where a Waste Management truck got stuck (as first reported here Monday afternoon, thanks to a reader tip, and updated until the truck was taken away three-plus hours later).
SPU spokesperson Marieke Rake tells WSB that they found a damaged stormwater pipe beneath the street, and that’s what they believe caused the sinkhole (their term, “void”). She added that an SPU maintenance team is cleaning the downstream pipe to remove debris,” and within a few days they’ll “have an estimated pipe-repair timeframe.”
10:36 AM: Thanks to the texter who mentioned an explosion-type noise near 36th and Andover – SFD went to look for a possible transformer fire in the area. We don’t know if they’ve found anything yet but we do know the Seattle City Light map now shows an 81-customer (one home/business = customer) outage in the area.
10:52 AM: The SFD call has closed out. SCL does have the cause classified as “equipment failure,” and its restoration guesstimate is 2 pm – could be sooner, could be later.
11:52 AM: The restoration estimate has now been pushed back to 2:48 pm. The photos above and below are courtesy of an area resident (thank you!) who says SCL has been focusing on the cross-arm where a “high voltage insulator broke away.”
2:34 PM: The outage has expanded by 40 customers since our last look at the map in the past hour or so. Guesstimate for restoration is now pushed back to 6-ish pm.
2:45 PM: We’ve also heard via the scanner that the traffic lights are now out at 35th/Fauntleroy, 35th/Avalon, Fauntleroy/Avalon. Remember – a broken signal = all-way stop!
3:55 PM: Thanks for the updates in the comment section – looks like the power’s back on for all but seven customers (screengrab above).
ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:54 PM SUNDAY: Thanks to David for the report and photo – brown (discolored) water from his taps in the 3000 block of 62nd SW in Alki: “I called the City and they say it’s safe — supposedly testing hydrants in the neighborhood is causing rust in the water.” If you have brown water – tonight or any other time – be sure to report it to Seattle Public Utilities at this number – 206-386-1800. Sometimes it’s testing; sometimes it can be a sign of a water break or other problem, and that number will get you to someone around the clock. Last year, you’ll recall, SPU was flushing areas of the water system in West Seattle in hopes of clearing out some buildup; we haven’t had an update on that in a few months, so we’ll check on its status after the holiday.
TUESDAY FOLLOWUP: From SPU spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin: “SPU crews were conducting fire flow tests Sunday night, which caused some customers to experience temporary discolored water. These tests require crews to run water from a hydrant to test the volume coming out of the pipe to ensure there is adequate fire flow protection. Most of these tests are conducted at night to minimize the impact to customers. SPU received 5 calls from customers about discolored water (3 Sunday night and 2 Monday morning). Our on-duty water quality inspector spoke directly to those customers who had questions or concerns about the discolored water.”
We also asked if any further flushing operations were happening; Goodwin said no: “At this time, SPU is not conducting water main flushing in West Seattle. However, we continue to monitor water quality issues in West Seattle to determine if, when and where flushing might be beneficial.”
That sign was up this afternoon near the 63rd Avenue Pump Station south of Alki Point, following the 330,000-gallon combined-sewer overflow reported late last night by King County Wastewater Treatment. The overflow happened during Thursday afternoon’s less-than-one-hour power outage in western West Seattle, before a portable generator could be brought to and fired up at the pump station.
We followed up today with county spokesperson Doug Williams. For one, as commenter Schwaggy asked, why isn’t there already a generator at the pump station? He says there soon will be:
We are wrapping up a construction project at the 63rd Avenue Pump Station that, when finished, will include a new emergency power generator at the facility. While that construction project is underway, we have an emergency generator loaded on a trailer and stationed at the Alki CSO facility. Yesterday when our workers got the 63rd Ave pump station overflow alarm they went to the Alki facility and picked up the emergency generator for the short drive over to the pump station (about ¼ mile, I believe). However, power was restored before the emergency power was brought online.
As for how long the signs will stay up, Williams didn’t have information on water-quality-test results yet when we checked in, but he said the signs will not be taken down until results are “below thresholds for human contact.”
Just got word from the King County Wastewater Treatment District that this afternoon’s power outage caused a ~330,000-gallon overflow from the 63rd Avenue Pump Station in South Alki. The pump station usually sends stormwater and wastewater flows to the Alki Combined Sewer Overflow facility at Alki Point. That facility has an emergency generator on site, and the county says crews brought that generator to the pump station, but it wasn’t needed for long, since the outage lasted less than an hour.
… King County has reported the overflow to health and regulatory agencies. King County employees will post signs in the vicinity of the pump station at first light on Friday, Feb. 17, and employees with the County’s Environmental Lab conducted water quality monitoring.
The Alki facility itself had a quarter-million-gallon overflow just four weeks ago.
4:30 PM: Via Twitter, SCL says they “have reports of a downed pole,” though we haven’t heard where. Evan, via Twitter, reports having seen transformer trouble and sparks near High Point Pond Park. There was a short-lived SFD call near 29th/Findlay. Meantime, remember that non-working signals are all-way stops.
4:57 PM: New estimated restoration time – 5:50 pm. (Could be sooner, could be later.)
5:12 PM: Thanks for all the updates! Took the City Light map a few minutes to catch up but it confirms, outage is over.
While on a walk from Lowman Beach into Lincoln Park on Sunday, we stopped for a few photos of the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project, planning to check for an update this week. One arrived tonight, even before we could ask. The million-gallon tank at the heart of the facility has already functioned successfully, as the King County Wastewater Treatment Division told the Morgan Community Association last month, so now the project is down to the final loose ends:
King County’s contractor is nearly finished with landscaping on the County’s facility building site, including a green roof on the facility building and a rain garden north of the public staircase. Grading is also underway in Lowman Beach Park in preparation for landscaping installation.
When complete, the green roof on the facility building will absorb rainwater and improve the building’s energy efficiency. Excess water from the green roof and other parts of the facility will be directed to the rain garden, reducing runoff to nearby storm drains.
Landscaping and restoration activities on site are expected to be complete by the end of the month. Once restoration is complete, the project artist, Robert Horner, will install the remaining project art.
The contractor will wait to plant grass in Lowman Beach Park until the weather is warmer, likely during the month of March. Fencing will remain in place around the park until grass is established. The County anticipates the public staircase to be open to the public by early April.
To celebrate completion of the project, the County will host a ribbon cutting event and facility tours this spring. Keep an eye out for an invite in the mail!
The county also says it’s changing its hotline hours for the project “now that major construction is complete.” They’ll answer 9 am-5 pm Mondays-Fridays and will take messages the rest of the time, 206-205-9186. It’s now been three and a half years since major work began at the Murray CSO site, with demolition of the residential buildings that used to be there.
P.S. During heavy rain, check here to see if overflows are happening anywhere around the area.
Two outages to mention: First, thanks to Bianca for reporting a blown transformer near 35th SW/SW 112th – that’s likely what’s to blame for a 51-home outage toward the south end of 35th SW and part of the Seola Beach area.
Meantime, Comcast phone service is out for a multi-county area, including at least part of King County. We’ve heard from one business – Greentree Animal Hospital – that says you can reach them by e-mail in the meantime, email@example.com – if anyone else has alternate contact info, we’d be happy to mention it.
FIRST REPORT, 11:53 AM: New information just in from Seattle Public Utilities about their plan for the rest of this week.
The big change for our area: If you are a Monday pickup customer, you will **NOT** get pickup today after all – nobody “south of I-90” will – here’s what SPU says today:
Commercial garbage, recycling or food/yard waste pickup resumed today across Seattle.
Collections for residential customers partially resumed today on a revised schedule based on the solid waste contractors’ assessment of neighborhood road conditions:
· Monday residential customers, north of I-90 will be collected today (Tuesday).
· Monday residential customers, south of I-90: Due to continued icy conditions, there is no residential garbage, recycling or food/yard waste pickup in these areas again today. Customers should put out materials on their next regularly scheduled pickup day (next Monday), as described below.
· Tuesday residential customers will be collected tomorrow (Wednesday), weather and road conditions permitting.
· Wednesday, Thursday and Friday services will all be delayed one day this week.
For Monday residential customers south of I-90 or other customers not serviced this week due to icy roads, please put containers out on your next regularly scheduled pickup day. Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day. Please use extra bags or boxes for the additional materials. For service updates, please check seattle.gov/util. Follow SPU on Twitter.
(Photo credit: WSB files)
ADDED 4:43 PM: Commenters were wondering if this means they can put out the recycling again next Monday, or if they would have to wait another week until scheduled pickup for recycling. Marieke Rake of SPU replied to our inquiry:
For West Seattle residential customers with Monday pickup, please put out containers on your next regularly scheduled pickup day. This includes recycling even if next Monday isn’t your regular recycling day. Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day. Please use extra bags or boxes for the additional materials.
(TUESDAY UPDATE: Monday residential customers here will NOT get pickup this week after all)
ORIGINAL MONDAY ANNOUNCEMENT: In case you missed this in our snow updates earlier today, we’re publishing the full announcement separately, since this will affect people long after the snow has melted: Since Seattle Public Utilities couldn’t get trucks out this morning, trash/recycling/etc. pickup will be delayed one day ALL WEEK. Here’s the full announcement:
Due to icy road conditions, there will be no residential or commercial garbage, recycling or food/yard waste pickup in Seattle today—Monday. Contractors will attempt to serve priority commercial locations this afternoon.
Weather and road conditions permitting, garbage, recycling, and food/yard waste service will resume Tuesday, on a revised schedule — with customers scheduled for pickup today (Monday) collected Tuesday. All remaining residential services will be delayed one day this week.
If your materials are not picked up by the end of the following day, please put them out on your next regularly scheduled pickup day. Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day. For service updates, please check seattle.gov/util. Follow SPU on Twitter.
TUESDAY UPDATE: Published here.
SPU has two ways for you to let them know what you think. And as City Councilmember Lisa Herbold has mentioned repeatedly lately (the committee she chairs oversees SPU, among other things), it’s ultimately about the rates you pay. So consider weighing in on this.
The quickest way: Answer their online survey. It’s not just “yes/no” – it’s a bit educational, and a bit creative (at one point you’re asked how you want them to spend $100, if you had to split it between certain ways to do that). Several pages in, you will indeed be asked your thoughts about various rates and what SPU would be able to do and not do at certain levels. Go here to answer the survey.
You’re also invited to a meeting. It’s next Wednesday (February 8th), 6 pm, at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center (4408 Delridge Way SW). Cambodian, Vietnamese, and Spanish-speaking interpretation will be available.
The big orange dot on that Seattle City Light-provided map marks the next spot where the utility will be installing a taller pole to facilitate its future switch to automated, wireless metering. The announcement includes this information:
Seattle City Light continues to support Advanced Metering services throughout the utility’s service territory by replacing existing utility poles with taller poles, which will host wireless utility data collection equipment. The new poles will be 70 feet tall, which is about 20 feet taller than the existing poles. … Affected customers have received the same information …
In February 2017, crews will be replacing poles in the following areas:
· Lake City / North Seattle (NE 125th Street)
· South Lake Union (Pontius Avenue N)
· Othello Park (43rd Avenue S)
· West Seattle / Junction (SW Edmunds Street)
· This project is part of the communications network to support Advanced Metering, which will automate meter reading and enable enhanced services.
· There are no maintenance power outages planned for this work. Some traffic and parking impacts are expected in the immediate work areas. Crews will be careful to maintain access to driveways.
· Daily work hours are from Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. In most instances, the work to transfer existing equipment and install the data collection equipment can be completed in one day.
Three areas of West Seattle are getting the taller poles this month, as previewed here in December.
Thanks for the tip – what was already a bumpy-to-say-the-least stretch of road in the 4100 block of Beach Drive SW [map] is worse this afternoon, with what first responders were calling a “sinkhole,” possibly involving a water break. It’s on the southbound side of the street, and police are directing traffic around it. The Seattle Public Utilities crew that is there now checking it out says a larger crew is on the way to dig into it, so you’ll want to avoid this area for at least a few hours.
12:10 AM: A water break in north Arbor Heights has led to a slide that’s taken out part of a dead-end section of California SW north of SW Roxbury and forcing residents of one house to evacuate.
A sizable Seattle Fire response is here and Seattle Public Utilities crews have arrived too. No report of injuries.
12:18 AM: Police are on scene too and as you can see, California SW is taped off – we are being kept back for safety. “West of Fauntleroy Park” is probably a better description of this area – here’s a map.
7:57 AM: We’re following up on multiple fronts now that it’s light – look for an update later.
ADDED 12:30 PM: We’re still awaiting information from SPU, and checking with other agencies too, including SDOT, since a road is involved. Meantime, some midday photos showing the scope:
We’ll update with anything more we find out.
4:30 PM: SPU says it doesn’t know what caused the 2-inch water-line break. We just went back again to the slide zone and they have lots of heavy equipment at work. We’ve been talking to SDOT about the road and SDCI about the stability of the home(s) in the area – that’ll be in tonight’s story. As pointed out in comments, the slide is in an embankment on what would be the SW Cambridge street end, between 44th SW and California SW.
7:05 AM: Thanks to the texter who reported that water service is out for some High Point residents near 34th SW and SW Holly. They report Seattle Public Utilities says it’ll be out for a few hours.
12:45 PM: More info from SPU spokesperson Ingrid Goodwin: “SPU crews continue to work to repair a vertical break on an 8-inch water main on 34th Avenue SW. Water is anticipated to be back on for customers by 1:30 pm today and crews are expected to be done with the repair and off the street by 3 pm. Crews initially throttled the water main around 4:45 am, which caused some customers to be immediately out of water. About 68 water services are impacted.”