West Seattle, Washington
10:57 AM: For the third time in a week, we’re hearing from multiple West Seattle CenturyLink customers – via e-mail, Twitter, and comments – that their fiber Internet service has gone out again this morning. Locations mentioned in the messages we’ve received this morning include Admiral, Genesee Hill, North Delridge, and Beach Drive – sharing your general location in a comment, or message to us, helps, since otherwise there’s no mapping available along the lines of, say, a power outage. Some customers say CL has told them to expect service to return “sometime over the weekend.” Our previous reports are here (some were out all of last weekend) and here (an outage on Wednesday). We have a message out to CL’s media department again and will update when we hear back.
11:54 AM: Some customers are reporting they’re back up.
12:02 PM: A CenturyLink spokesperson replied to our inquiry:
CenturyLink has isolated the outage in West Seattle and continues to monitor the system to assure service availability. If customers are continuing to experience interruption to their high-speed internet or Prism TV services they should contact customer service 877-837-5738 and submit a trouble ticket.
They didn’t answer our question about what’s causing the outages, so we’ve asked it again.
5:36 PM: CL says “a hardware failure” is to blame.
It’s been four months since we first told you about Seattle Public Utilities‘ plan for a large-scale flush of West Seattle water pipes, to tackle a persistent problem with “brown water.” Crews have been out many nights over those four months, methodically conducting flushing operations, and they’ll be out again tonight – which, SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin tells WSB, will be of particular note:
SPU is approaching a major milestone with the West Seattle flushing project. After tonight’s flushing, we will have completed unidirectional flushing for the entire area shaded in purple on the [above] map. This amounts to 21 miles of water pipes in West Seattle that have been flushed to remove sediment and build-up and minimize the occurrence of discolored water for many West Seattle customers.
Next week we will start reviewing and evaluating all of the data from this first phase of unidirectional flushing in West Seattle. This will help us determine our next steps and focus areas for other neighborhoods in West Seattle that might benefit from flushing.
We are also looking into utilizing some new technology that will allow us to flush certain parts of the water system discharging a minimal amount of water.
Tonight’s flushing is happening at three locations in Admiral. This May followup includes photos from a flushing site we visited late one night, to show you how the process works.
6:18 PM WEDNESDAY: Just days after the CenturyLink fiber Internet outage that lasted all weekend for some West Seattle customers, we’re getting word of another one. The company doesn’t make official outage announcements, but starting around 4 pm – via comments on our previous item, and via e-mail – we started hearing about this. If it’s affecting you too, let us know, and please include your neighborhood.
10:01 AM THURSDAY: We sent an inquiry last night to local CenturyLink media liaisons. Here’s the reply just in from Caitlin Birkenbuel: “On August 10, CenturyLink experienced an outage in a West Seattle neighborhood, which impacted high-speed internet and Prism TV customers. The outage lasted 2.5 hours and was resolved at 7:05pm yesterday evening. We apologize for the inconvenience and would like to thank our customers for their patience during the service delay.”
FRIDAY NIGHT, 11:34 PM: No way to know how many are or have been affected, but we’ve been hearing from some West Seattle CenturyLink users who say their fiber Internet has been out since Friday morning. One is Scott in the 2700 block of 46th SW, who says he first reported the outage around 10 am, was told it should be fixed by 7 pm, then called again two hours later and got a recording with a projected repair time around 11 am Saturday.
Phillip told us via Twitter that his service has been out about that long, and via e-mail earlier in the evening, Nick said CL told him he was one of a triple-digit customer count with an all-day-into-the-night outage. Anyone else?
SATURDAY MORNING, 11:24 AM: Thanks for the comments. Via Twitter, @CenturyLinkHelp, rep Aaron just replied, “There are still a few customers down, but for the most part they should be back up from what I am seeing.”
SATURDAY AFTERNOON, 2:05 PM: … but people in comments and via Twitter are saying they’re still down.
SUNDAY NIGHT, 6:46 PM: See comments for updates from CenturyLink customers who say they’re STILL out. We will be checking with their media/public-affairs department first thing in the morning to try to find out what’s been going on.
Wondering what that Seattle Public Utilities crew in your neighborhood is up to? Might be this. SPU tells WSB that its crews will be around West Seattle for the next few months, doing “routine sewer cleanings and inspections”:
Seattle Public Utilities is cleaning and inspecting sewer pipes throughout your neighborhood. This work helps reduce sewer overflows and identify locations that need repairs or additional maintenance. Homes and businesses will continue to receive normal sewer services.
Crews will use water from fire hydrants to clean the pipes. Using fire hydrants can cause discolored water. Residents experiencing discolored water should run the water for two minutes before drinking.
Crews will be in one location for no more than 2 hours. Regular work hours are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Homes and businesses will continue to receive normal sewer services. However, you can expect:
Temporary lane closures
Temporary parking restrictions
Temporary street closures
Utility trucks and noise
Discolored water (Safe to drink)
This is *not* part of the ongoing pipe-flushing work, which also can lead to temporary discoloration – that’s for water lines, not sewer lines. And there can be other causes of discolored water, so if it does happen at your residence, let SPU know – 206-386-1800.
If you use the West Seattle Bridge east of 99 at night, it’s a landmark of sorts – Seattle City Light‘s big red neon sign. Soon, its neon will be gone. Here’s SCL’s announcement:
Seattle City Light has contracted with Seattle-based Western Neon Custom Sign Builders to replace the neon lights in the iconic City Light signs at its South Service Center at 4th Ave. S. and S. Spokane Street with LED rope lighting, beginning July 26.
The iconic signs will go dark during the project, which is expected to last up to two weeks. Once complete, the new lights will resemble the classic amber color of the original signs, which were built in the 1920s. The signs do not have Seattle landmark status, but they are the last remaining pair of full “CITY LIGHT” signs from that era. City Light historically had similar signs at its Yesler Substation and control center, the Cedar Falls powerhouse and the Lake Union steam plant.
“Historic signs give continuity to public spaces, becoming part of the community memory. They sometimes become landmarks in themselves, almost without regard for the building to which they are attached, or the property on which they stand,” said City Light Historic Resource Specialist and Architectural Historian Rebecca Ossa, quoting from the National Park Service’s Preservation Brief on Historic Signs. “This project allows City Light to preserve a bit of its early history while demonstrating energy efficient lighting for the thousands of people who pass by the sign every day.”
Replacement of the neon lights in the South Service Center signs is needed because they have outlived their expected life span and have become hard to maintain. Using LED lighting will save energy and save money while maintaining the historical look of the signs.
A team of employees from City Light’s Facilities and Customer Energy Solutions divisions and its Lighting Design Lab designed the changes. The last upgrade to the signs was in the late 1980s.
The City Light signs are actually 18 separate signs. Each letter is its own, separate sign. One set faces west and one set faces east toward Interstate 5.
If you live near any of these projects, we hope you’ve received the notification flyers already. Otherwise, you might have seen “no parking” signage and wondered – so we’re passing along the news from Seattle Public Utilities. Follow the “official notice” links for full details, including maps:
TODAY: In the 1600 block of Edgewood SW in North Admiral, SPU expects to start emergency repair work today on a broken sewer line and “roadway void.” Here’s the official notice.
THIS WEEK: On 46th SW north of Hudson, SPU expects to start sewer-repair work in two spots starting this week. Here’s the official notice.
NEXT WEEK:: One week from today, SPU expects to start work on mainline sewer repair along 50th SW between Spokane and Charlestown. Here’s the official notice.
FIRST REPORT, 3:33 AM: Just a few minutes ago, the power suddenly went out here on the Fauntleroy/Gatewood line. Anyone else? Not on the City Light outage map yet.
3:38 AM: Now it is. More than 3,770 customers (customer = home or business). Looks like roughly Brandon on the north, Henderson on the south.
3:51 AM: No word yet from City Light re: the cause, and we’re not hearing anything related on the scanner. SCL map now suggests a 10 am restoration time, but please keep in mind, that’s only a guesstimate – could be sooner, could be later.
4:05 AM: Though City Light’s Twitter feed is insisting on saying the outage is in Delridge, it’s not. No part of Delridge involved. High Point, Sunrise Heights, Upper Morgan, Gatewood, Fauntleroy, a bit of Westwood.
4:32 AM: Our power just came back on, in Upper Fauntleroy. (added) From comments, sounds like most other affected areas are back too, but the City Light map hasn’t caught up just yet.
4:40 AM: And now it has – outage over after a little more than an hour. Via Twitter, SCL says the outage was the result of “a bad cable.”
A month and a half after a community meeting (WSB coverage here) on whether to take over a King County-owned beachfront home at 8923 Fauntleroy Way SW, the Seattle Parks recommendation is in – they support moving ahead with a swap of sorts that would in effect expand Cove Park next to the Fauntleroy ferry dock. Here’s the news release we just received:
After considering public comments, input from a public meeting, and City policy, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) has recommended that King County Wastewater Treatment Division move forward with the street vacation request which would involve the transferring of the King County owned property located at 8923 Fauntleroy Way SW to the City of Seattle. Having made this recommendation, the next step in the process involves King County Wastewater Treatment Division applying for a street vacation. This is one of many steps in the process prior to the Seattle City Council making a final decision on the street vacation and taking ownership of the property.
In 2015, the King County Wastewater Treatment Division finished an upgrade to the Barton Pump Station by the Fauntleroy Ferry Terminal to accommodate West Seattle’s growing population. To build the new pump station, King County acquired the property just to the north of SW Barton Street for use during construction. Once the project was finished, King County began the process to surplus the property. With the City expressing an interest in the property, this raised the possibility of trading the Fauntleroy Way SW property to the City for a partial vacation of SW Barton St. (under the county’s pump station) which the County is interested in obtaining.
This potential trade is not solely an SPR issue, but rather a City issue that needs the input of multiple departments for an adequate review. The comprehensive City review required by a street vacation application will help provide the information necessary to fully inform the public, address unanswered questions, and lead to an informed decision by City Council.
The street vacation process will be run by Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) and will include plenty of opportunities for further public input and dialogue.
For more information on this proposal, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/parks/projects/cove_park/addition.htm or contact Chip Nevins, SPR, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-233-3879.
The possibility of Seattle taking over the county-owned house and 35-foot-wide strip of beach (aerial map here) was first explained publicly at April’s Fauntleroy Community Association meeting (WSB coverage here).
(UPDATED 3:49 PM to clarify that the average bill will go up $1 – your bill may vary)
(Seattle City Light image: Gorge Dam)
The average electricity bill is going up about a dollar starting next month. Seattle City Light‘s announcement explains the surcharge it’s about to add, and might be keeping for a few years. In short – blame it on the weather:
Low revenue from the surplus energy Seattle City Light sells to other utilities has triggered a 1.5 percent surcharge on electricity rates, starting in August.
City Light generates power at its hydroelectric projects. When the utility has more electricity than its customers need, it sells that power to other utilities and uses the money to keep prices low for its retail customers. For 2016, City Light anticipated $60 million in revenue from such wholesale energy sales, but the utility is on track to earn only about $43.5 million as a result of warm spring weather at a time of low prices on the wholesale energy market. The warm weather melted mountain snow earlier than is typical, which meant City Light’s hydroelectric projects were producing surplus energy at a time of lower demand and lower prices than the utility might have seen in June or July.
To make up the difference between what was expected in the budget and actual revenue, City Light draws from a rate stabilization account created in 2010 to offset the volatility that comes with generating and selling hydropower. If the amount in the account dips to $90 million or below, a 1.5 percent surcharge is automatically applied to every customer’s bill until the account is refilled to $100 million.
The rate stabilization account had $89.1 million in it June 30, which triggers a surcharge that will be applied to customer bills, starting in August. The surcharge will add $1 to the typical residential customer bill every month. This is the first time an automatic surcharge has been triggered since the rate stabilization account was created.
Based on current financial forecasts, City Light projects that the surcharge could stay in place into 2019. Should the rate stabilization account’s balance fall to $80 million or below, the surcharge would automatically increase to 3 percent.
Once the account balance is refilled to $100 million, the surcharge is automatically removed. If strong surplus energy sales ever push the rate stabilization account’s balance to more than $125 million, the City Council can choose to reduce rates, have City Light pay down existing debt or direct the utility to pay for capital expenses with cash instead of borrowing money.
Thanks to Kay and Jissy for the tip: If you’re going to a local Seattle Public Library branch, be aware the West Seattle-area branches (Delridge, High Point, Southwest, Admiral, South Park) have been having computer trouble today. We just confirmed this with SPL spokesperson Andra Addison. It’s blamed on a fire affecting fiber optic lines, and while we don’t have specifics, apparently it was last night’s fire in the 4800 block of Delridge – not near the library, but the initial burst of flame was so huge (see the reader photo added to our story) that it may well have affected utilities. We’re trying to find out more; Addison says repairs are in progress.
Thanks for the tips – the City Light map now verifies a small power outage in a residential area northeast of The Junction, near 39th and Genesee. It lists “bird/animal” as the cause, and resident Keri verifies that, saying, “It’s unusual for our power to be out — we almost always survive the storms and other outages. Turns out a crow took out the transformer. It’s going to take a few hours to get it back on.”
The combined-sewer-overflow project across from Lowman Beach is about to generate extra noise for up to three days. Even if you’re not right next to the project, sound carries, so take note of this announcement from the King County Wastewater Treatment District:
Starting Wednesday, June 29, King County’s contractor for the Murray CSO Control Project will begin connecting the Murray Pump Station to the same electrical power system as the underground storage tank.
The connection is needed to ensure a more reliable power source for the pump station when the facility becomes operational this fall. Crews will use a temporary generator to the site to maintain power to the pump station while new electrical connections are put in place. The temporary generator will be placed next to the Murray Pump Station in the southeast corner of Lowman Beach Park.
This work is expected to take 48 hours to complete and will require the temporary generator to run continuously overnight through Friday, July 1. Increased noise levels from the generator are expected. Noise from the generator may be more noticeable at night when ambient noise levels are lower. The contractor will take measures to mitigate the noise emitted by the generator to the extent possible and will monitor noise periodically during the operation. The generator will be placed as far away from the nearest residences as possible.
A small crew will work inside the facility building at night to complete the power upgrade using handheld equipment. Indoor work will be limited to quiet, low-impact activities. You may notice lights on inside the building and crews going to or coming from the facility building.
Questions or concerns? Project hotline: 206-205-9186, around the clock.
1:28 PM: Thanks to Todd for the tip via Twitter: 92 homes in Upper Alki, mostly west of Schmitz Park, are without electricity, according to the City Light map, which says the cause is still under investigation.
2:29 PM: According to the outage map, the power’s back on.
Just in from the King County Wastewater Treatment District, as the Murray Combined Sewer Overflow Control Project across from Lowman Beach continues advancing toward completion by year’s end:
King County’s contractor for the Murray CSO Control Project will begin working on Sundays inside the facility building starting as early as this Sunday, June 19th.
Work will occur during daytime hours and will be limited to quiet, indoor activities. A small crew will be conducting electrical and mechanical work inside the building using handheld equipment. This work will not exceed noise levels outlined by City noise ordinance. You may notice crews going to or coming from the site.
Thank you for your continued patience during construction. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns by email, by calling the project hotline at 206-205-9186, or by stopping by our booth at the Morgan Junction Community Festival this Saturday from 10 am-5 pm.
While spot outages are reported fairly frequently, we’ve received several reports of this one, so it could be relatively widespread – we’ve heard from Comcast customers from North Delridge east to Pigeon Point. One customer says they’ve been told it’s supposed to be back on by 10 pm. Any other areas?
After an unannounced three-week break, Seattle Public Utilities crews will resume flushing work this weekend, continuing to clear local water mains of sediment (mostly rust buildup). SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin sent this progress report with word of what’s next, including the map you see above:
SPU will resume water main flushing in West Seattle Sunday night, June 19, starting on SW Donald Street between California Avenue SW and 44th Avenue SW.
We took a three-week break from flushing to allow our staff to assess our progress, make adjustments and plan for the next sequence of flushes.
To date, the SPU flushing crew has flushed about 10 miles of pipe in West Seattle to minimize discolored water.
Flushing results have been very positive: water is flushed until clear and the crew is measuring chlorine and turbidity (cloudiness) throughout the process to make sure water quality standards are met at the end of each flush.
The attached map [above] shows the area that has been completed. We anticipate finishing the remaining sections of Area 1 (shaded in purple) this summer.
In the fall, SPU anticipates starting to flush Area 2, which will be in the 498 pressure zone, from approximately Myrtle Reservoir north to SW Spokane Street.
SPU reiterates that if you have any water-quality issues – even if it’s brown water that the flushing might have stirred up on its way to clearing things out – please call them, 24/7, at 206-386-1800.
P.S. For more backstory on The Big Flush, here’s our previous report.
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:23 PM: Heads up if you’ll be traveling Delridge Way near Edmunds any time soon – utility crews are working in the middle of the street. We noticed running water on the edge of the northbound side of the street, and we just received one reader note saying they had called Seattle Public Utilities and been told there’s a water-line break. They also report reduced water pressure at their residence. We’ll be checking with SPU’s media team ASAP to see if we can find out more.
9:44 PM: We haven’t heard back from SPU yet but multiple commenters in the area say they’re without water.
10:33 PM: Now we’ve heard from SPU, which says an 8-inch line broke, no obvious cause. It was first reported by someone who saw the water bubbling up in the street late this afternoon; they cut off service in the area around 7:30 pm for repairs. 110 customers (homes/businesses) are affected, and they’re hoping to restore service by midnight.
11:03 PM: Marieke from SPU just called again with an update – she says they’re turning the water back on right now. It was a “horizontal break” and 10 feet of pipe had to be repaired. Your water might be discolored for a while when it comes back on, so let it run a bit, she says, and it should clear up.
11:56 AM: Thanks to the texter who tipped us to this: Seattle City Light is investigating a power outage in the Westwood area. Its map shows 44 customers (homes/businesses) without electricity, north of Roxbury and east of 27th SW. No cause is listed yet, but the texter reported hearing an “explosion” – no Seattle Fire dispatches in the area, though.
3:08 PM: Just checked – still out, after more than three hours. SCL’s map attributes the outage to “equipment failure” and guesstimates that power will be restored by early evening.
6:41 PM: According to the SCL map, the power’s back on.
Seattle Public Utilities says it will be repairing a sewer line along 35th SW between Juneau and Raymond starting next Tuesday (May 31st). The flyer it’s circulating in the area says, “The mainline at this location is damaged and requires replacement. Homes and businesses will continue to receive normal service during the repair.” They expect the work, at five spots on the line (shown above), to take about two weeks, with crews there 7 am-4 pm weekdays. While service will continue, there will be mobility effects, including parking restrictions, limited access to driveways during construction work hours, and the closure of “the center two lanes of 35th SW” while the work is under way.
Thanks to the texter who tipped us about this: City Light is repairing a pole on eastbound Admiral Way near Belvidere right now after a driver hit it in the 5 am hour. Police told us at the scene just now that the driver was taken to the hospital with minor injuries; two houses nearby are without power. The aftermath of the crash is blocking one eastbound lane.
Next Tuesday night brings the public meeting Seattle Parks promised for community comment on its potential “trade” with King County for 8923 Fauntleroy Way SW, a 35-foot-wide strip of beach with a single-family house, adjacent to community-maintained Cove Park, which is immediately north of the Fauntleroy ferry dock. The county bought the house to use as a construction office and staging area during the Barton Pump Station Upgrade project, which was finished last year. It’s talking with the city about trading the house for use as parkland if in exchange it gets a street vacation for land that’s part of the pump station. We covered a Parks presentation about this at the April meeting of the Fauntleroy Community Association. At its May meeting, FCA decided not to take a position on the possible trade but did commit to creating and circulating a “fact sheet” about the situation, and that’s what you can review at the top of this story.
The meeting, meantime, is at 6:30 pm Tuesday (May 24th) in the Emerald Room at The Hall at Fauntleroy on the south side of Fauntleroy Schoolhouse (9131 California SW). In-person input always has a big impact, but if you absolutely can’t make it, you can comment via e-mail to email@example.com.