West Seattle, Washington
1:28 PM: Thanks for the tip – City Light says more than 80 homes lost power at midmorning on west Charlestown Hill. “Equipment failure” is listed as the cause, and the restoration estimate is 4:18 pm – could be sooner, could be later.
3:10 PM: A few homes have their power back – City Light’s map has downsized the outage to 69, though it’s also changed the cause to “investigating.”
5:48 PM: Outage over since last we checked, per SCL map.
For all the times we’ve written about what to do if your tap water is brown/discolored … this time it’s happened at WSB HQ. So in case anyone else in Upper Fauntleroy or vicinity is experiencing it, we did call Seattle Public Utilities – which wants to hear from you if it ever happens where you are – at 206-386-1800. They say hydrant use in the area has stirred up sediment. (Here’s SPU’s complete “what if my water’s discolored?” page.)
We hope everyone’s aware of this scam by now but just in case – we got a call from Luna Park Café a little while ago, and they had just received the infamous utility-scam call. Businesses are a favorite target of these scammers, who claim your power’s about to be cut off unless you pay some money right now. Utilities including City Light say they don’t do business that way. But if you get a call like that and somehow fear you might be in arrears, you can call the utility to be sure. All the info you need is here.
4:26 AM: Thanks for the tip about an outage in the south Arbor Heights/Arroyos/Seola area. Seattle City Light‘s map says 106 homes are without power; no cause listed so far. (This is near the area where City Light plans to start a project soon to replace underground cable, with an informational open house this Wednesday.)
7:45 AM:: As commenters note, SCL has since updated to blame a tree.
1:25 PM: Restored since our last check a couple hours ago.
Seattle City Light says it’s starting work soon on its project to replace underground cables for “enhanced electrical reliability and efficiency” in South Arbor Heights and The Arroyos, so if you have questions about the project, a drop-in open house has been announced for one week from today: 5:30-7 pm at Southwest Library (9010 35th SW). SCL says the work “will require installing new conduits, vaults, and other associated work. Streetlights will also be replaced as part of this work.” The work is expected to start in early-to-mid-May, on California SW between SW 106th and 107th. This will be a long-running project, per SCL: “Civil construction is estimated to last approximately 1 1/2 years. Additional streetlight work will follow.”
Starting next week, Seattle Public Utilities will be replacing a water main on Hobart Ave. SW [map] in Upper Alki. It’s “part of a citywide water main restoration effort,” SPU says. They expect to start work next week, with the project lasting about six weeks, mostly Mondays-Fridays 7 am-5 pm. SPU says they hope to reopen the street during non-work hours. The project is also expected to include “two short (about 1 hour) and two long (about 8 hours)” water shutdowns, with advance notice for residents who will be affected. Questions? Brian Eng is project manager – firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 386-9744.
8:05 PM: At HQ here in Upper Fauntleroy, we lost power a few minutes ago for something more than a flicker. Checking around on Twitter, other areas – Morgan Junction, South Delridge, Gatewood, for starters – confirmed it happened there too. And via scanner, we’re hearing a report of something that sounded like “an explosion” near Delridge/Thistle – emergency responders are checking.
8:18 PM: Still a mystery. We went to Delridge/Thistle to look around, nothing in view, power on. No outages have turned up on the SCL map. Strange because in our decade-plus of tracking outages, almost invariably, a flicker in one place accompanies an outage elsewhere. We’re attempting to reach a City Light spokesperson.
8:31 PM: Just talked to an SCL spokesperson. They don’t know what caused it either, but have crews headed this way to investigate.
9:35 PM: City Light says their crews found out what happened: “The cause was due to a blown lightning arrester (equipment failure).”
10:45 AM: Thanks for the tip about a power outage on Harbor Island. The City Light map confirms 200+ customers out both on Harbor Island and east, around Spokane St. east of Highway 99. SDOT reports downed wires in 1st/Spokane vicinity.
11:01 AM: Eastbound Spokane is blocked west of 1st; stoplights are out on E. Marginal at, and north of, Spokane. The light on Spokane east of the low bridge is out too, though the bridge itself appears to be operating normally.
12:04 PM: Texter says they have power back, and the SCL map confirms the outage is partly resolved.
12:39 PM: The map shows Harbor Island is all back on except for a few spots south of the low bridge.
4:28 PM: Added above, a photo of the power pole that was hit, causing the outage. About two dozen customers are still shown as out, along Spokane between 99 and 4th Ave. S.
In case you’re experiencing it too, reader Brian, who contacted Seattle Public Utilities about brown water in the 4800 block of Fauntleroy Way SW, says he’s been told it’s the result of SPU line-flushing in the area this morning. SPU always advises calling 206-386-1800 if your water is discolored – there are several potential causes, and sometimes they won’t know until they start hearing from customers. Brian says SPU told him to “use water as little as possible for the next few hours to not further agitate the trust. It should take 3 to 8 hours to clear up.”
3:42 PM: There’s a small Seattle City Light outage in Riverview right now after what a tipster texted us was a boom that they suspect involved a transformer. The SCL map notation attributes the outage to “equipment failure.” Meantime, we want to remind you that the forecast calls for things to get windy tonight and early tomorrow, possibly gusting up to 33 mph – no official alert, but there wasn’t one last Sunday either, when gusts took down trees and took out power, so you’d be wise to be ready just in case.
10:05 PM: Jen says in a comment that the power was restored around 9:15.
P.S. Forecasters are still predicting a windy night and early morning – keep everything charged!
One power outage so far – 181 customers along 62nd SW in Alki lost electricity just after 1 am. No cause listed but just as we were typing this, our tipster says it came back on.
2:59 PM: First significant power outage in West Seattle since the weather got blustery on Friday – more than 150 customers in Gatewood and Upper Fauntleroy, including WSB HQ, per the City Light outage map. More to come.
3:09 PM: The cause isn’t listed yet but the restoration guesstimate is 9 pm – as always, we caution that it can be fixed a lot sooner (like that recent 1 1/2-hour outage) or much later. Meantime, a much-bigger outage has just happened in the White Center/Shorewood/north Burien area – 4,100+ customers:
4:04 PM: SCL blames the White Center-and-beyond fire on a tree. Meanwhile, we’re checking out a brush-fire call in west Gatewood that’s blamed on downed wires – we don’t know if it’s related to the outage but it’s not far. Separate coverage here.
4:23 PM: As noted in comments, the big outage to the south has been resolved, as verified by the SCL map. The outage east of Lincoln Park, not yet.
5:53 PM: New outage as of a little over an hour ago – two pockets on SW Roxbury in the 26th/28th area, and we’re told that is affecting Roxbury Safeway. We’ll be checking there in a bit.
6:46 PM: Roxbury Safeway has some power inside but cold cases are covered and there’s no external lighting. Meantime, the outage in our HQ area, east of and uphill from Lincoln Park, is now listed as 371 customers. Still a 9 pm restoration guesstimate, but no cause – the wires-down fire is likely related.
9:34 PM: Still in the outage zone but we did see a couple City Light trucks a few blocks away while we were on our way back here a short time ago. The restoration guesstimate has been pushed back to ~1:29 am but please remember, it’s not based on anything scientific, as City Light itself will tell you, so it’s just a guess. Some important things to remember:
-It’s cold but in trying to stay warm, you need to follow carbon-monoxide-safety rules.
-Wondering about the safety of food in your refrigerator? Read the FDA advice and guidelines.
2 AM: Our power came back on around 1:30. Now there’s a new 90-customer outage along Walnut.
FIRST REPORT, 7:17 PM: Getting word of a power outage in Westwood and South Delridge. More to come.
7:19 PM: Hearing from Highland Park and White Center too. And the SFD log says it’s a vault fire at 22nd and Roxbury.
7:26 PM: On our way to check out the fire scene. Meantime, we’d suggest avoiding Roxbury in that area. And remember that dark stoplights are all-way stops. More than 3,000 customers are out, according to the City Light map.
7:39 PM: Roxbury is blocked by the emergency response, which is near Holy Family. Our crew just arrived in the area. SFD is investigating smoke coming up from a utility-hole cover. For those asking what a “vault fire” means – “vault” in this case is an underground installation of utility equipment.
7:43 PM: The fire is apparently not huge – some units are being dismissed. The City Light restoration estimate is 2 am but PLEASE remember, as we always point out in outage situations (and as SCL itself acknowledges), that is just a guess … could be back on much sooner, or much later.
7:49 PM: Our crew just checked on the detours. If you are headed east, you’ll be rerouted at 21st/Roxbury; if you’re headed west, you’ll be rerouted at 17th and Roxbury.
8:01 PM: We also checked on Westwood Village businesses – the QFC to Marshall’s side is all/mostly out, but other businesses are on. Will also be checking on downtown White Center, which is in the outage zone too, per SCL’s map.
8:14 PM: Per comments, texts, and firsthand sightings in the field, we have word at least some have their power back already. SCL’s map says the outage is down to 1,300+ customers, less than half the initial number.
8:35 PM: As shown on the updated map above, almost everyone still out is south of Roxbury. That includes downtown White Center:
We’d heard police say via scanner that they had been told they could reopen Roxbury. We’ve also just seen a tweet that Route 560 is no longer rerouted off Roxbury – we’re heading back to the zone to verify.
8:41 PM: Just checked the SCL map and it shows just about everyone back on. If you are NOT – please be sure SCL knows – 206-684-3000. Thanks again to everyone for the updates, including first word of the outage – 206-293-6302 is our breaking-news hotline, 24/7.
9:24 PM: We did verify that Roxbury is open again; when we went through, the 16th/Roxbury signal was in flashing-red mode, though, so another reminder, that means stop all ways.
6:03 PM: Thanks for the tip about a water break on 35th SW north of Fauntleroy. Just went to check; the crew is working on the NB side of the road, directing traffic 1 lane at a time, and expects to be there a few hours.
SUNDAY MORNING UPDATE: Checked back to be sure the road was fully open again. It is.
6:22 AM: We have reports of low water pressure in the area of 40th SW between SW Oregon and SW Alaska. One reader says they’ve called Seattle Public Utilities and were told there’s a water break. On our way to check.
6:39 AM: No crew on site right now but the water is flowing on the east side of the street, southward toward SW Alaska from the vicinity of a hydrant at midblock. No traffic effects.
7:53 AM: Neighbors report in comments that a crew is there now.
10:13 AM: As commenters reported, LA Fitness (sign above) is indeed closed – we just went by to verify. They hope to reopen by mid-afternoon. And 40th is closed between Oregon and Alaska because of the work.
11:16 AM: We also just got a text that Sound and Fog – which is across SW Alaska on 40th – is also closed because of the water break. If you know of any other businesses affected, please let us know – we’re making phone calls in the meantime, but unlike a power outage, there’s no information on the exact area affected, so we’re just making guesses for starters. (added) We just checked with West Seattle Bowl, for example, right next door to Spruce (the building that houses LA Fitness) – the bowling alley and its restaurant DO have water.
11:36 AM: Across the Fauntleroy/Alaska intersection, The Whittaker (WSB sponsor) tells us they’re without water, but we need to check individually on how/whether that’s affecting the businesses in their building. (added) We called CityMD, which says they’re closed to walk-in patients until the water’s back on, but you can call to make appointments.
12:07 PM: SPU’s Andy Ryan tells us the water “should be back on for customers by 1 pm. Crews will do some flushing to minimize the dirty water caused by the shutdown, and will remain at the jobsite this afternoon, completing the repairs on the hydrant.”
1:30 PM: A commenter says water is back on at Spruce.
2:33 PM: Sound & Fog has reopened. So has 40th SW. The signs were off the door at LA Fitness but we have to head back that way to send someone in to verify that they’re operational.
3:24 PM: LA Fitness confirms it’s open again too.
4:07 PM: And last but by no means least, SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin has answered some followup questions:
What happened? We strongly suspect that a car hit the hydrant based on where it broke and the force needed to cause the type of damage that occurred (damage occurred to critical hydrant parts that were underground).
Why did the water main have to be shut down? Normally, crews can simply shut off the hydrant valve to make the repair. But because the hydrant valve was damaged, they were forced to shut off the water main to stop the break, which unfortunately led to temporary water shutoff for customers.
Why so much damage? The hydrant that was hit was very old, installed about 40 or 50 years ago. The types of hydrants SPU has been installing for quite a while are “break-away” hydrants that are designed to break away or withstand being struck by vehicles. The new hydrant that was installed today is a break-away hydrant.
That long-running sight at California and Orchard in Gatewood – water (or ice, on the December day we photographed it) on the road, coming from the southeast corner – may finally be a thing of the past. It’s been a problem for some time – you can even see it in Google Street View from last fall. Some neighbors contended that it had to be a pipe break of some time, but Seattle Public Utilities investigated and was adamant that its tests showed it was groundwater. That assessment even wound up marked on the sidewalk at the corner:
SPU says it’s a “seep” like so many others around the city, from a water source in the ground – springs, for example. You’ve probably seen them in other spots around West Seattle; one that comes to mind is along California Way between Harbor SW and Hamilton Viewpoint. SPU told us they’ve identified more than 150 “surfacing groundwater” spots around the city, and shared this map:
SDOT and SPU have been collaborating to investigate trouble spots like these, though even once they’ve been identified, finding a way to fix it – and/or the money to do so – can be a challenge.
In the California/Orchard case, neighbors had been working with City Councilmember Lisa Herbold, insisting something had to be done about the chronic water on the road, which also was leading to moss/algae growth on the sidewalk. Initially, the city said all it could do was be sure that SDOT salted/sanded the spot when it froze over. But then came a breakthrough, Herbold reported this week: “Drainage and Wastewater operations staff discovered an abandoned stormwater pipe. This allowed SPU to correct the problem of the water collection because they could use the abandoned stormwater pipe as a connection to newly route the water away from the street surface.” She added that, “The observations of residents in this area monitoring the occurrence of this accumulation of water was critical to the identification of a solution.”
For much of the rest of the week, 45th Avenue SW by Madison Middle School – between SW Hinds and SW Spokane – will be closed to all vehicle traffic but school buses. Seattle Public Utilities says it’s a sewer-repair project, and should be complete by the end of the week. They’ve distributed flyers along the street and talked with the school, but just in case you’re a 45th user who is outside that notification scope, this is an FYI. (Thanks to the person who tipped us to this!)
4:57 PM: A texter told us about a “smell of smoke” at Westwood Village Barnes and Noble just as SFD was dispatching four units that way. They’ve arrived and so far have NOT found a fire but are checking it out as an electrical problem, so they’re calling for City Light (whose map shows some power trouble in the area).
5:16 PM: SFD cited a “widespread” electrical problem, which we’re also hearing about from some in the area, so we’re headed to WWV shortly to check.
5:43 PM: Just spun around WWV. B&N was the only store clearly dark & closed.
10:20 AM: Having water-pressure trouble – or no water – near Lincoln Park? The photo shows the scene of a water break at Lincoln Park Way and 47th SW. It’s from Kersti, one of several people who have contacted us to let us know about the problem. Seattle Public Utilities has been alerted. (Any time you have a water problem – low pressure, no pressure, discoloration, etc. – the hotline to call is 206-386-1800.)
10:40 AM: Just talked with SPU spokesperson Andy Ryan. He says the break is in an 8-inch cast-iron water main, and there’s no estimated time for repairs yet, but they’re working on it. It’s affecting about 32 “services” – a “service” can have multiple customers, and those affected by this include nearby retirement center The Kenney. Three hydrants are affected, too.
2:03 PM: We just stopped by the scene (photos added above and below). The crew tells us it could be another “two to three hours” because once they finish repairing the line, they’ll have to flush it.
3:34 PM: Commenter SA reports the water’s back on.
Again this year, Seattle Public Utilities is giving you more than a month to get your Christmas tree turned into compost – either via curbside pickup, or Transfer Station dropoff. Today’s announcement:
From Dec. 26, 2017, to Jan. 31, 2018, Seattle residents can compost holiday greens, including wreaths and trees, for free curbside or at a Seattle Public Utilities transfer station.
At the Curb
Place your holiday greens on the curb next to your food and yard waste cart on your collection day. Please keep in mind the following:
Remove all decorations and lights, tinsel, metal clips, ornaments and bows.
Trees must be cut into lengths to 4-feet or shorter.
Bundle each section with sisal string or twine (not plastic).
Flocked and plastic trees or wreaths will be charged as extra garbage.
At apartments, one tree may be placed next to each food and yard waste cart at no extra charge each collection day.
At the Transfer Station
Bring Christmas trees and other holiday greens to a city transfer station. Starting Feb. 1, 2018 regular fees will apply.
Trees should not exceed 8-feet in length and must be free of decoration.
Trunks should not exceed 4-inches in diameter.
The stations will accept up to 3 trees per vehicle.
The South Transfer Station is just east of West Seattle, 130 S. Kenyon (here’s how to get there).
P.S. And remember that for the next two weeks, curbside pickup day for everything is one day later than your usual day, because of the Monday holidays.
10:54 AM: The video is from Heather, one of several people who have messaged us this morning with word of brown water in the West Seattle Junction area. As noted here before, it’s important to report brown water to Seattle Public Utilities at 206-386-1800 – Heather’s family did and reports that SPU says it’s because of fire-hydrant testing in the area. Here’s the general SPU advice about what to do if your water is discolored; you might recall SPU’s West Seattle flushing operations last year, an effort to get rust out of the pipes before it’s stirred up by hydrant use or pipe breaks.
12:28 PM: Despite the initial report blaming hydrant testing, it now seems there’s a water break – both Eddie via e-mail (including the photo below) and TTT via comments are reporting it.
We have a call out to SPU.
1:14 PM: Just talked to SPU’s Andy Ryan. He says they’re still working to figure out exactly where the break is – so far they think it’s possibly an 8-inch water line, and they’ve “throttled” water in the area so that what’s coming up at 48th/Alaska should be down to a trickle. In addition to the people reporting discolored water, he says six customers in the area are without service right now.
In case you missed last week’s community meeting about the recent Arroyos/south Arbor Heights power outage and related trouble – what you see above is the slide deck explaining what Seattle City Light has planned for the area. A project spanning multiple blocks of South Arbor Heights is expected to last about a year and scheduled to start next March. (The slide deck includes a map you can also see here.) SCL says it’ll be putting in “new electrical conduit and cables” to replace “underground, direct buried cables (that) are approaching the ending of their life.” Besides this month’s outage, the area’s relatively recent outages included last April, August 2016, and May 2016.
With Christmas Day and New Year’s Day on the next two Mondays, trash, recycling, and yard-waste pickup days will change for the next two weeks. Here’s the announcement, hust in from Seattle Public Utilities:
Due to back-to-back Monday holidays, all garbage, food and yard waste and recycling in Seattle will be delayed by one day for a duration of two weeks, starting Monday, Dec. 25, 2017.
There will be no solid waste collections on Monday, Dec. 25, 2017 and Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Collections will be delayed by one day from normal schedules (e.g. collections for Monday will occur on Tuesday, Tuesday collections will occur on Wednesday, and so on). Customers should set containers out by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.
Customers can report missed garbage, food and yard waste, or recycling collections after 5 p.m. on their rescheduled collection day by calling (206) 684-3000, or filling out a report at www.seattle.gov/util/MissedCollection.