Arbor Heights fire aftermath: Hydrant upgrades almost complete

Seattle Public Utilities says it’s almost finished with the hydrant upgrades promised after water-flow problems hampered firefighters’ work to extinguish the flames that destroyed an Arbor Heights home on August 27 (WSB photo at right). We spoke with SPU today, after Arbor Heights resident Kevin McClintic clued us to work that’s been under way in the area this week (and shared the photo atop this story).

According to SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin, “Ten of the 12 hydrants that were identified for upgrades have been replaced with larger, standard-sized hydrants. The remaining two hydrants, located at 107th SW and 35th Ave SW, and 100th Street and 35th Ave, are scheduled to be replaced by the week of November 14.”

During work yesterday, several Arbor Heights residents noted on the WSB Facebook page that they lost water service but hadn’t received advance notification. Goodwin says SPU had warned “about 15 to 20 homes along 100th between 39th SW and 44th SW” that they would lose water yesterday, but the shutdown affected more homes than those. She said, “This was not supposed to happen, and we apologize for the disruption in water service to those customers. SPU is investigating why those homes, outside of the shut-down area, were affected.”

The new hydrants are painted yellow “for greater visibility,” Goodwin says, adding that while they originally planned to upgrade 11, a twelfth was identified and added to the list.

Ahead – see the list of the replacement hydrants’ locations:

The list provided by Goodwin:

* 6 hydrants on SW 100th St between 35th Ave SW and 42nd Ave SW
* 2 hydrants on 40th Ave SW from immediately north of SW 102nd St to immediately south of SW 104th St
* 1 hydrant on California Ave SW & SW 106th St,
* 1 hydrant on 40th Ave SW south of SW 104th St
* 1 hydrant on 39th Ave SW between SW 106th and SW 107th Streets
* 1 hydrant at 107th Street and 35th Avenue SW

She reiterates what we had been told previously – they are not replacing the two hydrants that had trouble during the August 27 firefighting operation, because they are atop smaller water mains and larger hydrants wouldn’t be able to draw any more water. They are, however, as promised, “working with Seattle Fire to provide a way for firefighters to clearly identify low-flow hydrants when they respond to the area.”

10 Replies to "Arbor Heights fire aftermath: Hydrant upgrades almost complete"

  • JO November 4, 2011 (12:45 pm)

    I live on 106th and there is a hydrant in the parking strip. It’s green, quite rusty, and appears to be smaller than the new yellow hydrants. How do we find out if the hydrant is sufficient for our neighborhood? Has it been tested recently? If it’s not sufficient, how can we find out what the alternative plan is for getting water to our houses? It’s the only hydrant on the block and I would hate to think that if a fire started we might be in the same boat as the house on 42nd. Is there a way to find out or who can we contact? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • concerned in Arroyos November 4, 2011 (12:49 pm)

    Was or will the one at 109th and 39th be checked?

  • AIDM November 4, 2011 (1:09 pm)

    I thought there was previous reporting that the hydrants were NOT the issue. Wasn’t it the small water mains that were the culprit?

    • WSB November 4, 2011 (1:56 pm)

      I don’t know that the “culprit” has been formally determined, but in the testing that was done, it WAS determined that some hydrants could have better water flow if they were big enough to take full advantage of the mains beneath. As noted in the story, the two hydrants nearest to the house were determined not to be eligible for that. – TR

  • Joe November 4, 2011 (1:26 pm)

    It took someone losing their entire home to get hydrant ugrades. Hopefully, someone doesn’t have to get killed walking in the street before the city does something about our despicable pedestrian situation.

  • Boy November 4, 2011 (2:38 pm)

    Along with side walks comes higher property taxes.

  • mapgrl November 4, 2011 (4:02 pm)

    Without upgrading the old, small pipes feeding the hydrants, are new hydrants going to significantly improve the performance of hydrants in Arbor Heights?

  • annf64 November 4, 2011 (4:59 pm)

    my ex lives next door to the house that burned in August in Arbor Heights.Knowing that the fire hydrant that is right infront of his house will not be ugraded concerns me and the other neighbors should also be concerned. IF there is a fire in the future (which i hope there isn’t!), will there be ‘notes’ so the fire dept will know what procedures to take? also, what is the status of the Highline Fire Dept responding to calls outside their district?

  • D-mom November 5, 2011 (9:02 am)

    I’m not liking this idea of the city not replacing the small water mains. Identification of bad hydrants is not good enough. I live 1/2 a block from the house that burned and have no interest in going through something like that again. I think we all need to contact SPU and the city and keep contacting them until they replace the mains.

    By the way, it says that one of the hydrants fixed was on 35th/100th. From what I’ve been told, that is the one hydrant they actually worked that day.

  • 39th resident November 6, 2011 (4:55 pm)

    The hydrant on 39th between 100th and 102nd was also replaced. I also agree with previous comments that the small water lines need to be replaced. Lets contact SPU!

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