FOLLOWUP: 47th SW water-line repair should be done by mid-afternoon

November 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 5 Comments

The water-main repair work that’s closed 47th SW south of Fauntleroy – previously mentioned in our daily traffic watch – will take a few more hours, according to Seattle Public Utilities. Rachel Garrett at SPU tells WSB, “The break is affecting about 20 residential customers along 47th Ave. SW, between SW Brace Point and SW Roxbury Street. SPU crews are onsite and have begun repair work, which we estimate will be completed this afternoon by around 3 p.m. The water line is currently throttled, and customers along SW 47th Ave. upstream of the break will likely have service impacts while repairs are completed.” She says it’s an 8-inch line and they’re still investigating the cause of the break.

West Seattle windstorm updates: 2 major power outages so far, both fixed fast

November 17, 2015 at 8:41 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news, West Seattle weather | 87 Comments

(SCROLL DOWN for updates … ROAD HAZARD? 206-386-1218 … POWER OUT? 206-684-3000)

(Added: WSB photo, wind-swept waves at Constellation Park)

FIRST POWER OUTAGE REPORT, 8:41 AM: Thanks to those who texted – the power’s out for more than 4,800 homes and businesses:

Seattle City Light‘s map says the cause is under investigation. While you’ll see “estimated restoration” times there, PLEASE remember that those are only guesstimates and almost always, the actual time is something completely different – could be much earlier or much later.

9 AM: Commenters report Alki Elementary and Pathfinder K-8 are without power. We are checking with Seattle Public Schools.

9:17 AM: About a third of those who lost power have it back – thanks to Tony in Seaview for first word on that.

9:20 AM: Our crew just stopped by Alki Elementary. Aside from the lack of electricity, it’s “business as usual,” and classes continue.

9:40 AM: City Light says a tree is to blame for the outage. Don’t know exactly where. Meantime, thanks for the texted photo of this tree down by Sanislo Elementary:

The texter says it’s *not* blocking the road. Sanislo DOES have power. Alki and Pathfinder remain the only schools that lost power, but district spokesperson Stacy Howard tells WSB that they have enough natural light to keep classes going.

9:52 AM: Photojournalist Erika Schultz says Pathfinder’s back on – it was a pocket outage all along, on Pigeon Point:

10:06 AM: Thanks for the texts and comments about more power restoration – Alki, Beach Drive, Genesee Hill. Waiting for City Light map to update. (1 minute later) Looks like everyone’s back on – if you’re NOT, please be sure to call SCL – 206-684-3000.

SECOND POWER OUTAGE, 10:17 AM: Almost immediately after that outage was resolved, a new one has hit – Puget Ridge, Riverside, points south, 2,100+ customers per City Light map:

10:25 AM: Just got a texted report of wires down on Beach Drive near Cormorant Cove Park (3700 block).

11:02 AM: Thanks for the updates – the SCL map verifies that the SECOND outage is now over, in less than an hour. That includes Sanislo. Again, if you are still without power somewhere, please call to be sure SCL knows – there might be pocket outages here and there.

11:26 AM: While the power’s back for all except a spot here and there (here’s the “live” map), the storm is still going full strength – we’ve just been down and around a few spots including Constellation Park south of Alki Point, adding photo (top).

11:57 AM: We’ll be launching an afternoon edition of storm coverage soon. Meantime, latest trouble spot we’ve heard about is south of West Seattle – trees down on the north lanes of 1st Avenue South near 116th, in Top Hat.

FOLLOWUP: Delridge/Orchard overflow blamed on non-watertight covers

November 16, 2015 at 9:45 pm | In Delridge, Environment, Utilities, West Seattle news | No Comments

(WSB photo from Sunday)

Seattle Public Utilities has figured out part of what went wrong before a sewer overflow flooded Orchard just north of Delridge on Sunday (here’s our original report). From SPU’s Andy Ryan:

Crews were in the vicinity again today investigating the cause of the sewer discharge in the right of way near Delridge Way SW and SW Orchard Street. They determined that the overflow was caused by two maintenance-hole covers that were not watertight. We are exploring ways of sealing the holes to prevent future overflows at the location.

Crews also found that the new Delridge combined-sewer-overflow (CSO) project construction is working as designed.

By Sunday evening (11/15), crews responded to and contained the sewage overflow. They removed warning signs once the area had been cleared, and the road was reopened to traffic. We will let you know when we have figured out how, and when, we seal the maintenance holes that caused the overflow.

Saw the flash? Heard the boom? Big power outage south of here

November 15, 2015 at 2:23 am | In Shorewood, Utilities, West Seattle news, White Center | 4 Comments

2:23 AM: Some West Seattleites saw one or more flashes and heard booms about the time more than 4,300 homes and businesses lost power south of here – parts of White Center, Shorewood, Boulevard Park, also a pocket of the southeastern edge of WS at Olson/Myers. We’re covering it on partner site White Center Now but thought we’d mention it here too, because of the sights and sounds. No official word on the cause yet but Seattle City Light says crews are headed toward its Duwamish Substation.

3:39 PM: Most have been back on for some time but City Light spokesperson Scott Thomsen says about 10 percent of those originally affected remain out – he also updated us on the cause: “A tree fell into wires, which caused a fault current that was big enough that it damaged some of the wire. So crews have been working to replace the damaged wire. There are about 450 customers still out. We estimate having them back in service around 4:15 pm.”

FOLLOWUP: Discolored-water problem should be easing, Seattle Public Utilities says

November 13, 2015 at 7:33 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

Going back to September, we’ve been reporting on sporadic problems with discolored water around West Seattle. Usually, such problems are localized to a specific neighborhood that can trace them to a specific incident – water-line break, fire-hydrant use, etc. But in this case, the problems have been geographically scattered, and in most cases, Seattle Public Utilities says, related to two things: Routing changes in the water system while the Myrtle Reservoir was out of service for earthquake-resistance work, and activation of a wellfield to supplement supply during the recent dry months. Tonight, two weeks after the most-recent update, Ingrid Goodwin at SPU tells us neither of those situations is a factor any more:

Seattle’s water supply conditions have improved, which enabled SPU to completely turn off the wells on November 10. The wells may have been a secondary cause of the discoloration problems that residents were experiencing. Customers should expect that it will take a few weeks for the well water to circulate out of the system.

Myrtle Reservoir has been back in service since October 30 and water configuration operations have returned to normal.

SPU will continue to monitor the system and modify operations as needed to minimize stirring up sediment that can lead to temporary discoloration.
From November 3 through November 13, SPU received 39 customer calls indicating yellow, brown, or rust colored water in the general West Seattle and Georgetown/SODO area. We expect the number of customer calls to go down now that operations are returning to normal.

If you do see this problem at your residence, here’s the number SPU’s been asking customers to call: 206-386-1800.

WATER-SUPPLY UPDATE: Almost back to normal. New request for you – ‘don’t waste water’

November 10, 2015 at 11:23 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

The region’s water supply is now almost back to normal. So the request for you has changed to “don’t waste water.” Here’s the latest, from Seattle Public Utilities and its regional counterparts:

Recent rains have improved our region’s water supply. Now cautiously optimistic about water supply conditions, Everett, Seattle and Tacoma are moving to the lowest stage of their Water Shortage Response Plans, the advisory stage.

Conditions no longer warrant being in the “voluntary” stage, in which customers were asked to reduce water use by 10 percent. The advisory stage means that a potential water supply problem may exist. This is still the case due to an ongoing strong El Nino that is expected to bring warm weather through the spring. While in the advisory stage, the cities ask customers to use water wisely by not wasting it.

The three cities thank their customers for helping the region stretch its water supplies to meet the needs of people and fish in this unprecedented year. … “We live in a region where our customers truly understand and value drinking water as a precious resource,” said Seattle Mayor Ed Murray. “When we asked them to partner with us by reducing their water use, they stepped up and responded. I want to personally thank the residents and businesses of Seattle for doing their part.”

… With rain from the Halloween storm, supply reservoirs on the Cedar and South Fork Tolt rivers rose 12 and 14 feet, respectively, and are now at 92 percent of normal for this time of year. The utility continues to provide beneficial flows for spawning salmon in both the Cedar and South Fork Tolt rivers.

The full regional update, and water-saving advice, can be found at

UTILITY-WORK ALERT: About the work on Beach Drive

November 9, 2015 at 2:08 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | No Comments

If you’ve noticed work on, and just off, Beach Drive just south of Constellation Park – here’s what’s going on. From the King County Wastewater Treatment District:

Construction has begun across the street from King County’s 63rd Avenue Pump Station. The pump station is located on the waterfront at the intersection of Beach Dr. Southwest, Southwest Spokane Street, and 63rd Ave. Southwest, in West Seattle.

The work will include upgrading the existing connections from three private homes to the county’s pipeline.
What to expect:
· The sidewalks in front of the three homes will not be passable while the work is ongoing.
· There should only be minimal impact to traffic.
· All work will be done from 8:00am to 5:00pm M-F.
· The work is expected to take up to 2 weeks.

FOLLOWUP: Why power lines aren’t, and won’t be, undergrounded along falling-tree-prone Highland Park Way hill

November 6, 2015 at 9:36 am | In Highland Park, Utilities, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

(WSB photo: City Light truck on Highland Park Way during Sunday night’s outage)

The question came up again after Sunday night’s 2,100+-customer power outage from Puget Ridge to White Center: Since the line along the Highland Park Way hill seems to be particularly vulnerable, wouldn’t it make sense to put that line underground? We took the question to Seattle City Light.

Short answer: No.

Long answer, via SCL spokesperson Connie McDougall:

I’m told that the utility is aware of that area’s outages, and of course regrets the inconvenience, but City Light does not consider an underground system to be a viable solution for that area.

As one person told me, these kinds of projects are not only enormously expensive, but also very complex. Some folks might think it’s just a matter of digging a trench and then installing power lines but it’s not that simple. There’s a lot to consider.

Part of it is environmental. Crews would have to remove hundreds of healthy trees in the greenbelt area to make way for such a system, which in turn would damage roots of nearby trees. Also, by mayoral executive order, when crews remove one tree, they must replace with two suitable trees. Just making room for that scope of planting would mean thinning out hundreds of additional trees, adding to the cost to say nothing of aesthetic issues. Also, there are protected wetlands in the area, which further complicates it.

The other reason City Light would not consider an underground system viable for that area is our commitment to cost effectiveness. Even if you could somehow overcome all of the environmental issues, this would be a multi-million dollar job, using funds the utility simply does not have. Like everyone else, City Light has to stick to a budget and must make decisions and choices that are fiscally responsible.

To reduce tree-related outages, City Light’s vegetation management folks did trim the trees immediately around the wires in that area in May of this year. They trim about 10-feet around the powerlines, perhaps a few feet more depending on the situation. They try not to cut any more than is necessary for both practical and aesthetic reasons. The tree that caused your recent outage last weekend was not in that trim zone, but had a large reach, so when it went down, it went into the lines. This is just the nature of a greenbelt. And again, for practical and aesthetic reason, crews never trim trees deep into an area, but only around the wires.

This may not be any consolation, but you may also want to tell readers that when there’s an outage underground, it takes much longer to find it and repair it. Crews literally have to look into all the vaults in the area until they find the one with the problem. Overhead outages are a lot easier to find and repair, so customers get their power back sooner.

In newer construction of course, developers and contractors can plan for underground systems and build it into the cost and scope of the project.

Other tree-linked outages traced to that stretch include last August and March 2014; in November 2013, a car-vs.-pole crash there caused an outage with the same basic footprint. Those are just the ones we found easily in our archive, which also includes the signature sign of the 2006 Hanukkah Eve windstorm aftermath,

UPDATE: 2,100+ get power back after tree takes out wires in parts of Puget Ridge, Highland Park, Riverview, South Park, White Center

November 1, 2015 at 6:50 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 29 Comments

6:50 PM: 6:50 PM: Thanks for the texted tip – more than 2,100 Seattle City Light customers are out in eastern West Seattle, from Puget Ridge southward, as well as South Park and parts of unincorporated North Highline.

6:57 PM: 911 log says wires are down at Highland Park Way and Othello, which could indicate that’s the epicenter of the outage. We’re off to check. Meantime, at right, we’ve added a screen grab of the outage one according to the City Light map (which is linked in the first paragraph above). Some areas flickered about the time this outage hit, but did not lose power (ours, east of south Lincoln Park, among them).

7:04 PM: City Light says a tree is likely to blame:

Texters are also telling us that signals are out in some of the outage zones – remember, that means, treat the intersection like a 4-way stop. (And if you have any other info to share – text 206-293-6302 – thanks!)

7:26 PM UPDATE: As Kelly points out in comments, some already have it back – outage now down to 600+ homes/businesses.

We just checked out the Highland Park Way hill, and City Light crews are working quickly – one tree is visible in pieces off the road on the uphill (south/westbound) side, and the crew has moved further up the hill.

7:59 PM: Everyone else just got theirs back, per commenters and the SCL map.

WEIRD-LOOKING WATER: New info from Seattle Public Utilities

October 29, 2015 at 3:41 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

More than a month after our first reports about discolored water at different points around West Seattle, it’s still being reported here and there, so we have an update this afternoon from Seattle Public Utilities.

(WSB September photo, Myrtle Reservoir)
First, regarding Myrtle Reservoir, considered indirectly to blame because it had been emptied for earthquake-resistance upgrades, and that led to some rerouting in the Seattle Public Utilities System, which was suspected of “stirring up sediment that can lead to temporary discoloration,” according to SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin, who tells WSB today, “Myrtle Reservoir has been cleaned, disinfected and refilled with water. We are now waiting on the results of the water quality samples taken from the reservoir yesterday. Assuming the samples come back satisfactory, the reservoir will be back in service tomorrow (10/30). Bringing Myrtle back on line may help solve the problem of discolored water for some customers. But we’ll know more after the reservoir has been back in operation for a few weeks.”

In our most-recent update, SPU also had confirmed that because of the drought, it’s been drawing water from its well field north of Sea-Tac Airport, a different water source from the Cedar River Watershed. Overall, Goodwin continues: “Regular bacteriological samples in the area continue to come back satisfactory – indicating that the water remains safe to drink. Since the end of September, we have been taking water quality samples and analyzing for metals, pH, chlorine, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, temperature and color at the wells and at eight additional sites in West Seattle and Georgetown. Results from this supplemental water quality sampling in West Seattle continue to show the water is safe and meets drinking water standards.” (Those wells will be turned off “when Seattle’s water supply conditions return to normal,” but that doesn’t seem close yet.)

So what to do if you get odd-colored water? SPU says 39 customers reported it from October 20th to 27th “in the general West Seattle and Georgetown/SODO area.” Here’s what to do if it happens: “We encourage customers to continue to report problems with their drinking water to SPU by calling the 24/7 Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800. Reporting the problem as soon as it is noticed helps our water quality inspectors in their investigation to pinpoint the cause.” Goodwin also reiterates that discolored water has other causes, including when the fire department operates hydrants (this may have been the case with the recent fires in W. Seattle) or contractors open hydrants on construction projects. Leaks and breaks in water lines can also cause temporary discolored water.”

TRAFFIC/SAFETY ALERT: Orchard closed north of Dumar

October 22, 2015 at 2:47 pm | In Safety, Utilities, West Seattle news | 3 Comments

A tree-vs.-power-line situation has led to Seattle Police and City Light blocking off SW Orchard north of Dumar (map) until crews can get there to take care of the problem. They’re not sure how long that’ll take – could be a few hours. No crash involved, just a spontaneous problem, but we recall from past storms that this can be a trouble spot during wind and rain, so damage might have lingered.

FOLLOWUP: Why some West Seattle homes are still seeing discolored water: It might not just be the reservoir reroute

October 20, 2015 at 11:16 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 15 Comments

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

After more reports of yellow or brown water in West Seattle homes in recent days, we have followed up again with Seattle Public Utilities, as promised.

Discolored-water reports are usually specific to one neighborhood and one situation – maybe fire-hydrant use, or a pipe break. This page on the SPU website usually covers those short-lived situations. We first checked with SPU, which provides the city’s water supply, when we started getting reports almost a month ago from neighborhoods scattered around the peninsula. (Our first report from September 25th is here; our second, on September 30th, is here.)

Three weeks later, we’ve continued to get questions – and comments like this one, where a West Seattleite was startled by discolored bath water – so we inquired again. As this comment pointed out at the end of last week, there’s a new bit of information, which we’ve confirmed with SPU:

Click to read the rest of FOLLOWUP: Why some West Seattle homes are still seeing discolored water: It might not just be the reservoir reroute…

Don’t let the rain change your ways: Water-saving still urged

October 7, 2015 at 10:44 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news, West Seattle weather | 1 Comment

We’ve had (and are having) some rain, and water-saving has topped the city’s request, but don’t stop now, the regional water utilities are imploring you in this update:

Fall has arrived, but consistent fall rains have not. Everett, Seattle, and Tacoma remain in the second stage of their drought response plans. The water systems rely on fall rains to fill the reservoirs so there is enough water for people and fish. Customers in the region have reduced their use over the past eight weeks by a total of 14 percent. The cities are asking their customers to continue to reduce their water use.

This time of year is critical in the salmon life cycle, as they migrate back from the ocean and travel up their native rivers to spawn. Both the amount and temperature of water in rivers affect their ability to conserve energy, avoid predators and successfully spawn.

… The total water level in SPU’s reservoirs is at 74 percent of what would be typical for this time of year.

Click to read the rest of Don’t let the rain change your ways: Water-saving still urged…

Big Seattle City Light project on the way for Delridge: Mile-long streetlight-system replacement, plus stairway lighting

October 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

(Part of the stretch of Delridge where the upgrading will happen)

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Another big city project is headed this way.

We got first word of this while talking with one of the many city department reps who came to West Seattle on Saturday for the mayor-led Find It, Fix It walk in Delridge (WSB coverage here). It isn’t in the area on which the walk focused, but it’s in an area where many people will be affected by the work as well as by its results. Here’s what’s up:

Next year, Seattle City Light plans to replace and upgrade the Delridge Way SW streetlights and their infrastructure between SW Myrtle and SW Henderson. That’s a 1.1-mile-long stretch (see it on this map).

The Delridge Way SW Streetlight Infrastructure Upgrade Project entails much more than changing to LEDs (which won’t happen on other West Seattle arterials until 2017) – SCL says the light installations themselves have issues with wiring, grounding, and even siting/spacing, so the entire streetlight system along that stretch is being redesigned and replaced.

Along with new streetlights along Delridge, the project also will include lighting improvements on the SW Holden stairway between Delridge and 20th SW, the focus of safety concerns after robberies earlier in the year (yes, this is the same stairway where goats did some cleanup work last spring).

And, SCL says, some power-cable work will be done in areas where “injection” repair work failed.

Here’s the city overview of the type of work that’s expected to happen during this project:

City Light contractors will be trenching within the right-of-way. They will work within planting strips whenever possible, but will be demolishing sidewalks in some locations. New sidewalks and curb cuts will be installed as necessary and trenching across streets will be required in some areas. Sections of sidewalk will be closed while work is taking place. Roadways may be redirected for short periods of time when trenching across streets is taking place. Residents will be notified if driveways will be blocked.

SCL says the work is not expected to require or cause power outages.

The full scope of the project is still being planned, with its design not expected to be complete until March of next year, and bidding to follow in April; construction is expected to happen June 2016-January 2017. We’re checking on the estimated cost, as the SCL budget proposal for next year doesn’t list this (or other) specific projects.

West Seattle Comcast outage: Seaview, Morgan trouble

October 1, 2015 at 11:38 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news, West Seattle online | 31 Comments

11:38 PM: If you’ve been having trouble with Comcast service tonight in Seaview or Morgan Junction – it’s not just you. We’ve heard from people via all our channels with problems in those areas. Since Comcast itself doesn’t have a publicly accessible official outage map so far as we can tell, it’s important that you call to report it if you’re affected … let us know what you hear back in terms of a fix. While this doesn’t seem to be as widespread as the infamous June 1st outage, this is the largest number of reports we’ve received since that one.

7:51 AM: Some have theirs back, as noted in comments below. At least one person says on Twitter that theirs came back – then went away again.

Water outage Sunday for 130 homes/businesses on west side of Junction

October 1, 2015 at 10:38 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

Thanks to the residents who let us know about doorhanger notices they received this week – like the one at right – with news of an all-day water-service outage this Sunday (October 4th). They wondered how widespread the outage would be, and thought it merited wider mention, in case somebody who’s affected misses the notice, and in case it might affect visitors/customers of the homes/businesses. So we checked with Seattle Public Utilities whose spokesperson Elaine Yeung replied:

This is not an SPU construction project but SPU crews are installing multiple new ¾” taps services as well as a water main line valve for a private development. This work will have a fairly large shutdown involving 130 customers (including businesses) on 44th Ave SW from SW Dakota St south to SW Edmunds St and Rutan Pl SW. All customers who will be impacted by the shutdown will have received a door hanger with the date and time of shutdown.

So far, everyone we’ve heard from has been given a time frame of 8 am-4 pm. (If you’re a business in the area and this will affect your operation/hours at all on Sunday, please let us know so we can include that information when we mention this again in our daily preview on Sunday.)

FOLLOWUP: Still seeing weird water in West Seattle? Tell SPU

September 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 19 Comments

After numerous messages/questions from people around West Seattle, we reported last Friday on what Seattle Public Utilities believed was to blame for weirdly colored water in multiple neighborhoods – a system rerouting because of the seismic-retrofit work at Myrtle Reservoir (above). Today, an update from SPU:

The number of customer calls SPU has received about discolored drinking water in West Seattle has dropped significantly over the last few days. However, we understand some customers are still seeing discoloration in their water. SPU is continuing to monitor the situation and take water quality samples to ensure that the discoloration clears soon for all customers. Customers who are still experiencing problems should call SPU’s 24/7 Operations Response Center at 206-386-1800.

The seismic work – explained here earlier this year – has taken the underground reservoir (north and west of the big tanks) out of service; it’s expected to be complete sometime next month.

Yellow water? Here’s what Seattle Public Utilities says is going on

September 25, 2015 at 11:28 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 18 Comments

(WSB photo: Myrtle Reservoir, where the work’s happening underground)

After multiple reports of yellow, or otherwise discolored, water in different areas of West Seattle in recent days – we heard from people as far north as Admiral and as far south as Gatewood – we contacted Seattle Public Utilities this morning to find out what’s going on. Here’s what we’ve heard back from spokesperson Andy Ryan:

We are working to clear up discolored drinking water that has been reported in several sections of West Seattle over the past few days.

The cause of the discoloration is believed to be sediment that was stirred up due to a temporary change in water-system configuration.

Although the water is temporarily discolored, it is safe to drink. The discoloration is expected to clear up gradually over the next few days.

The utility will provide updates if anything changes.

Elaborating on the “configuration,” Ryan explains it’s because of the earthquake-resistance retrofitting (most recently mentioned here) that started earlier this month at Myrtle Reservoir, which is temporarily out of service because of the work, so they’ve rerouted water through a part of the system that they don’t often use.

Otherwise, discolored water turns up here and there every so often, for various reasons – usually we get a few reports from one area, so we point people to this SPU page with information about dealing with it (and the utility’s customer-service hotline if the problem persists – 206-684-3000), and that’s the end of it.

City wants West Seattle bus yard to be Seattle Public Utilities division’s new home

September 25, 2015 at 9:00 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 7 Comments

Seattle Public Utilities has settled on a new home, in West Seattle, for its Drainage and Wastewater Operations team. Now the hitch – getting the site, the bus yard at 4500 West Marginal Way SW.

That’s the slide deck for this plan, which is the only item on the agenda for a meeting next Tuesday morning of the City Council’s Public Utilities and Neighborhoods Committee. It points out that this division – more than 100 vehicles and 100 staffers – currently operates from the city’s Charles Street yard on the south side of downtown, shared with other departments/agencies, with no room for expansion. The tipping point: Maintenance of the forthcoming First Hill Streetcar will be at Charles Street too.

The West Seattle site choice was made, SPU says, after evaluating sites including the Myers Way parcels on the southeast edge of West Seattle and the former South Transfer Station in South Park. It would require some cleanup and remodeling over the next three-plus years. Meeting documents say the city started trying to buy the site this past spring; the owner asked $16 million, $6 million over the appraised value. (While the documents also say the site wasn’t on the market, it has been in recent years.) So now there’s an attempt to lease it. If none of this can be worked out, the city might try to acquire it by eminent domain. So they’re asking for City Council authorization to, basically, do what it takes to get the site. This meeting’s the first step; it’s at 9:30 am next Tuesday, and will include public comment (as do most council meetings); you’ll also be able to watch live via Seattle Channel, online or cable channel 21.

SEPTEMBER 29TH UPDATE: Though it was shown on the Seattle Channel schedule as the appointed time arrived – suddenly it seems this meeting’s been canceled. The committee’s next scheduled meeting is October 13th. We’ll keep watching.

Two more West Seattle sewer-overflow-reduction projects almost done

September 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm | In Delridge, Utilities, West Seattle news | 2 Comments

Last Sunday, the county celebrated completion of its raingarden/stormwater-diversion project in Sunrise Heights and Westwood (formally known as the Barton CSO Control Project). Now, the city is announcing it’s almost done with its two Delridge-area CSO (combined-sewer overflow) reduction projects – the two that also were affecting traffic in the work zones at times in recent months. From Seattle Public Utilities:

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is wrapping up work at CSO 2 and CSO 3, two sewer improvement project sites in the Delridge neighborhood. Crews are finishing construction next month and both sites will be fully operational by the end of the year. Thanks for your patience during construction!

Over the past year, we installed:
* A “smart” system, including valves and sensors to better monitor and control the amount of stormwater and sewage that is allowed to enter the downstream sewer system
* A new ventilation fan to improve air quality and safety for workers in the large storage tank
* Roadside cabinets to transmit flow information to SPU
* Pedestrian and landscaping improvements

During heavy rainstorms, combined sewer overflow (CSO) storage tanks hold excess storm water and sewage until there is capacity in the downstream system to carry it away, reducing the chance of sewage overflows into Longfellow Creek. As CSO 2 and CSO 3 aged, they became less efficient, resulting in more frequent overflows. This project increased the efficiency of these storage tanks, which will reduce overflows of untreated stormwater and sewage into Longfellow Creek.

* Landscaping at both sites (through fall 2015)
* Installation of permanent public art at CSO 3, commissioned through the city of Seattle Percent-for-Art program (2016)
* Ongoing equipment testing at both sites and the diversion structure

Details of the art project are in our coverage of last May’s Westwood-Roxhill-Arbor Heights Community Council meeting.

POWER OUTAGE UPDATE: Highland Park/Riverview outage finally off the map as of early Monday

August 30, 2015 at 9:14 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 10 Comments

(EARLIER COVERAGE: Saturday storm effects, here; Saturday night/Sunday updates on this outage, here)

9:14 PM: Going on 36 hours after the strongest gusts of Saturday’s windstorm, Seattle City Light has 252 separate outages left to fix, six of them in West Seattle, according to our check of its map a few minutes ago (screengrab above). The biggest, by far, is the one toward the lower right, 382 homes/businesses out in Riverview/Highland Park since about 11:45 pm Saturday night. Seattle City Light crews have been working along the Highland Park Way hill – which remains closed to traffic – all day:

(Photo by Alan Robertson)
That view is from a couple hours after our mid-afternoon check:

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
The tree-lined hill has long been a trouble spot; some who live along it put out a sign of frustration after six days without electricity following the December 2006 windstorm. SCL is not commenting on specific outages; its “estimated restoration times” remain a source of frustration for many because they continue to change – as of right now, for example, this one has an estimate of 1:30 am, but that’s moved back more than a few times. Around its service area, which stretches beyond the city-limit line in both the north and south, SCL estimated earlier tonight that it will have everyone back on by Monday afternoon, but it cautions in this online update that it had to focus first on major feeder lines in the hardest-hit north areas. Even before the windstorm arrived, authorities had said damage/outages could be worse because trees still have all their leaves this time of year, making them heavier and more vulnerable, especially in the kind of deluge that hit late last night, around the time Highland Park (and initially, beyond – 3,000 customers at its peak) went out.

REFRIGERATOR/FREEZER SAFETY: We know from experience too – four no-power days after the aforementioned 2006 storm – if you’re in the outage zone, you are wondering about what’s in your refrigerator/freezer. Here’s some info about that.

1:38 AM: The most recent projected restoration time for this remaining outage has passed and it’s now, 26 hours in, listed as “pending.” The two northernmost mini-outages, meantime, have fallen off the map.

2:42 AM: Alan reports in comments that his neighborhood is back on – and the outage map has lost the Riverview and vicinity splotch, so it seems the last of the Saturday night outage is finally fixed. Let us know if you’re in West Seattle somewhere and still out.

West Seattle power-outage update: Highland Park, Puget Ridge, and beyond go dark late Saturday night; some back on

August 29, 2015 at 11:45 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 74 Comments

(PLEASE SCROLL DOWN for newest info)

11:45 PM: We’re not sure of the extent yet, but power flickered here and apparently has gone out in at least part of Highland Park.

11:48 PM UPDATE: This is the biggest outage for West Seattle in this storm, by far. At least 2,100 customers, per City Light’s outage map. It’s stretching into parts of White Center and South Park. Adding a screengrab from City Light’s map. There are some reports of what looked like “explosions” so possibly a blown transformer in HP.

11:56 PM UPDATE: The map also shows Puget Ridge and part of North Delridge affected. And it shows what looks like two outages – one listed as 2,105 customers, another as 972, so more than 3,000 may be out.

12:54 AM UPDATE: If you have to do any early-morning driving, note that some stoplights are out – including 8th/Roxbury (which is dicey in even the best conditions) and 1st/Myers on the way to/from 509 – Roxbury had lights between those two spots, though.

5:45 AM UPDATE: As noted in comments, some of the 3,000 who were out have power back. Here’s who’s still out:

The map, however, is classifying these areas of West Seattle and South Park as three outages that started around 4 am, though if you compare you’ll see they’re part of the previous outage zone. The restoration guesstimate currently is noon.

6:46 AM UPDATE: Jeremy says in comments that Highland Park Way remains closed. We’ll be out checking on that when it’s a bit lighter – and will also be checking on a holdover from Saturday’s earlier problems, the dangling-tree-in-lines situation that had 35th SW closed between Avalon and Alaska.

7:47 AM UPDATE: SCL’s map has now adjusted the start time back to when the outage really started – about quarter to midnight last night – and the number of customers out now totals about 1,300.

9:40 AM UPDATE: We’ve mentioned the road updates in a separate story. And good news, more people have their power back – fewer than 800 are shown as being out now. Separate from the electricity, Comcast is reported to be out for some.

10:11 AM UPDATE: Now, about 443 still out.

2 PM UPDATE: Thanks to everybody for updating with comments! Tally’s down to 382 and the new guesstimate is 5:30ish – could be sooner (as were some of the restorations overnight) or later.

STORM COVERAGE: Windy in West Seattle; power-outage updates; downed trees; 35th SW closure

August 29, 2015 at 11:34 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news, West Seattle weather | 60 Comments

(PLEASE SCROLL DOWN for updates – most recent one, 5:53 pm)

11:34 AM: The wind has arrived – as the National Weather Service warned it would – and the first outages are on Seattle City Light‘s map: Both small, both blamed on trees, one on Seola Beach Drive in southwesternmost West Seattle, one in Westwood near 34th/Cloverdale. We’ll be tracking the storm here throughout the afternoon – if there’s tree, power, road, etc. trouble where you are, please let us know (after you’ve alerted the authorities) – thanks!

12:27 PM: As Taz just pointed out in comments, there’s a new outage by Constellation Park, south of Alki Point. Since the wind’s out of the south/southwest, that’s the side of the West Seattle waterfront feeling it the most – we’re further down Beach Drive by Emma Schmitz right now – see the short phone-video clip above.

12:43 PM: The Alki Point-area outage is now up to 138 customers, according to the SCL map, which has added a new West Seattle outage, in North Delridge.

12:51 PM: Along with a tree that’s been leaning against wires and a fence just north of West Seattle Stadium over the NB lanes of 35th SW for a while (added above: photo of that tree, sent by Chuck Jacobs – thanks!), we now have a report that a tree’s down on Highland Park Way.

(Photos from Sarahjean – [updated] Sylvan Way branch cleared by her husband, first photo, and bus riders, 2nd photo)
1:12 PM: According to MetPatrick via Twitter, the HP Way tree/branch is cleared out of the roadway. While we’re in a sunbreak, it won’t likely last – dark clouds heading up from the south/southwest and rain is still in the forecast.

1:36 PM: New updates in comments (thank you!) – a tree blocking Marine View Drive at California. By the way, in case you wondered, waves vs. shore action is not too bad because low tide was at 11 am and high tide – fairly high, 11.7 feet, since the moon’s full – isn’t until about quarter till 6 this evening. (added) Be careful wherever you walk/ride/drive – lots of tree branches and twigs down too – WSB’s Christopher Boffoli sent this from 35th SW by Our Lady of Guadalupe:

2:19 PM: The tree over NB 35th SW north of West Seattle Stadium, mentioned earlier, now has police blocking the outside NB lane and yellow tape closing the sidewalk from the south side of the stadium entrance:

Crews are stretched around the city, so it might be a while before this can be addressed, and it will be tricky because it’s on the other side of the fence along 35th. Elsewhere – looks like this tree did some damage to a vehicle – the texter described the location as North Delridge, near Pearls:

Newest outage on the map is near 28th/Holden, as of of less than 10 minutes ago, another small one, at least as gauged so far.

2:43 PM: The Alki Point outage has been upped to 190 customers, with restoration guesstimate around 7 pm (remember, those are really just guesses, but it’s what you’ll see on the SCL outage map); commenters have mentioned an outage east of Fairmount Park but that one doesn’t seem to be on the map. Look here for what IS showing; call 206-684-3000 if you’re out and not sure the utility knows already.

Above, a photo texted to us from 25th/Cloverdale – note the vehicle under the tree. The wind warning remains in effect until 6 pm.

3:21 PM: Drove the length of Marine View Drive, now all clear (aside from twigs, needles, stems here and there, like just about every road we’ve traveled today).

3:32 PM: Via e-mail, Chas says 35th is now closed at the scene of the tree mentioned earlier – we’ll head back out to check in a moment. West Seattle still has five outages on the map, the biggest one, the 190 customers out south of Alki Point.

And, via text, another tree-branch-on-vehicle, this time 24th/Holden:

If you’re wondering what happened to the predicted rain – showers remain in the forecast throughout the day, then potentially heavier rain tonight.

4:55 PM: 35th is indeed blocked off by police – though Metro’s getting through – between Alaska and Avalon, until the unsafe-tree situation is handled. We’ll be checking back. The wind, meantime, has calmed, even here in the southwest-exposed area where we are. For some, the afternoon’s weather was pure fun:

Thanks to Gary Jones for the photo from Alki Point.

5:09 PM: Kristin reports another dangling-tree-against-wire-over-road situation, this one over the west side of Sylvan between High Point and Delridge. She has reported to authorities. And Guy sent us this photo of one at 39th and Manning:

Do be sure to report these – start with City Light at 206-684-3000 – their crews are still slammed all around the city right now so you might not see anyone for a while, but it doesn’t mean you’re not on the list. Speaking of City Light, the map shows a new, small outage, this time in Seaview, near 45th and Findlay. That means seven pocket outages around WS.

5:53 PM: Thanks to Thom for the photo of crews working by Bar-S Field, in/by the Alki Point outage zone:

Meantime, the rain’s back, with the second intense cloudburst right now in less than half an hour.

6:58 PM: Checked while out a few minutes ago, and 35th remains blocked between Alaska and Avalon. One more traffic note – Dave warns that it’s slippery on the ramp from the bridge to NB 99.

7:25 PM: The SCL map shows the South Alki outage fixed – please let us know in comments if that’s not the case.

8:32 PM: In case you didn’t see this in comments – the “boat taking on water/minor” call that briefly brought a sizable SFD response to Beach Drive involved a boat with no one on board, according to a neighbor who says it belongs to someone who lives in the area and adds that SFD pumped some water out of it before departing. Now, a view from early this morning, before the wind kicked up – Ken Pendergrass made this serene time-lapse video from his Duwamish Head balcony:

Ken says the recording covers a time span from around 7 am to 10 am.

11:52 PM: We’ve launched a NEW story to cover the big new outage that just happened in Highland Park and beyond – go here.

ROAD-WORK ALERT: West Seattle Bridge lane closure for sewer work

August 28, 2015 at 10:35 am | In Utilities, West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 1 Comment

You might have noticed the setup for this already. From the city:

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is conducting emergency sewer repair work on the West Seattle Bridge/Fauntleroy Way SW ramp heading eastbound. From Friday, August 28th, at 7:00 pm to Sunday, August 30th, at 3:00 pm, SPU crews will be excavating as part of an emergency sewer-repair project. The inside eastbound lane will be closed during this time and drivers should allow extra time for their trips due to possible congestion in this area.

SPU crews will continue the work with roadway panel replacement the weekend of September 11. They plan to work from Friday, September 11th, at 7:00 pm to the afternoon of September 13.

Using less water? City says voluntary goal’s being met, so far

August 26, 2015 at 1:13 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 11 Comments

Two weeks after asking people to cut water use by 10 percent, Seattle Public Utilities and its counterparts in Tacoma and Everett say the goal has been reached – and they hope that will continue TFN. They’ll be providing regional updates every two weeks. Their major advice remains:

* Let lawns go dormant and limit plant watering to twice a week.
* Water plants before 8 a.m. or after 7 p.m.
* Reduce showering time.
* Check for and fix leaks.
* Wash only full loads of laundry and dishes.

This is all still voluntary, in hopes of avoiding mandatory reductions.

Timetable for arterial streetlight switchover to LEDs: Still a few years away for most of West Seattle

August 25, 2015 at 12:46 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 4 Comments

After switching residential streetlights to LEDs – which cast light in a dramatically different way from their predecessors – Seattle City Light is working on arterials, as first announced two years ago. But West Seattle arterials aren’t scheduled for the change any sooner than 2017, according to the utility’s recent update. SCL says the new lights use up to two-thirds less energy and last up to four times longer, among other attributes. Our area’s busiest city road got them almost two years ago.

West Seattle storm watch: 2 power outages, blamed on lightning; downed wires on Orchard

August 14, 2015 at 2:37 pm | In Utilities, West Seattle news | 12 Comments

2:37 PM: Two power outages are on the map in West Seattle since the lightning, thunder, and pouring rain moved in. Thanks to John for the tip on the bigger one, affecting 12 customers near 21st SW and Croft, north of Sanislo Elementary. The Seattle City Light outage map blames lightning for this outage and says it might take about three hours to fix. That’s also the cause listed for a one-customer outage just south of Solstice Park, estimated for a fix by 4 pm. (Remember the “restoration” times on SCL’s map are always guesstimates.)

3:11 PM: The Solstice Park outage is now up to nine customers (one home or business equals a “customer”).

3:33 PM P.S. Just across the Duwamish River, about 200 customers are affected by outages scattered along East Marginal Way, and traffic signals are out too, so be careful if you have to head that way (or ANY way, really, since the downpour continues).

5:40 PM: Thanks to the tipster who reported tree branches taking out wires along SW Orchard in the Home Depot vicinity. Another texter says the road is closed in that area, so we’re off to check the extent.

6:18 PM: Above is what we found – it’s actually east of the Home Depot intersection.

Next Page »

All contents copyright 2005-2015, A Drink of Water and a Story Interactive. Here's how to contact us.
Entries and comments feeds. ^Top^