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

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.

19 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Still seeing weird water in West Seattle? Tell SPU"

  • Karen Lyons September 30, 2015 (12:27 pm)

    Monday I noticed my faucet in the kitchen gave out water that had a noticeable foam on top, much like a beer head. Later I went to my P-Patch by Lincoln Park and found the water from the faucets, there, was also foaming. Very strange and a little scary.

  • Chad September 30, 2015 (2:00 pm)

    As of last night our water still had a yellow color. I only see it when filling the bath for the kids. So, only when there is a large quantity of water. We live in the Genesee Hill area.

  • wsgal September 30, 2015 (3:28 pm)

    I’m in the north admiral, would this apply to me? Not sure if it was just abnormally rusty water or something else…

    • WSB September 30, 2015 (3:41 pm)

      Yes, reports came in from all around the peninsula. If it’s still happening, please contact SPU so they know – TR

  • pupsarebest September 30, 2015 (3:45 pm)

    I am curious as to whether vast volumes of water were simply wasted as a result of having to drain this resevoir for “repair”.
    Anyone know?

  • Vincent Dakotah Langley September 30, 2015 (5:32 pm)

    Last week our tap water appeared to be yellowish in color instead of clear. For now, though, it does seem that the yellowish color in our water has cleared up. We haven’t seen that yellowish colored water for at least four or five days now. However, there is almost-always tiny specks of something whitish in color floating around in our tap water. That, in itself, is sometimes kind of a bit annoying but it surely doesn’t seem to hurt us in any way when we drink the water or use it in cooking. We live on Fauntleroy Way, S.W., just a block or two to the south of S.W. Alaska Street.

  • chemist September 30, 2015 (10:02 pm)

    pups, I can’t authoritatively “know” but I can tell you that when I lived in the north end of the city this happened every so often when they’d pump the water from one reservoir into another for cleaning. They’d stir up rust in the pipes as well as some sediment but they weren’t flushing the water down the sewer drain.

  • pupsarebest October 1, 2015 (4:13 am)

    Thanks, chemist.
    In this day and age of dwindling fresh water, it would be more than a shame if this project required simply wasting it— but as we see routinely, stranger things happen. 😑

    • WSB October 1, 2015 (6:55 am)

      I can’t find the reference but when reservoirs were drained for other reasons before, the water was routed elsewhere in the system (and the reservoir was drawn down without new water being routed in). It’s not like they just open a hose above ground somewhere and run it out; they knew months ahead of time that this work would be done.

  • Wendi October 5, 2015 (9:53 am)

    We just started getting yellow water here on the 1900 block in North Admiral. Two of my neighbors also have yellow water and there’s a strong smell. I’m waiting for a call from the utility co.

  • North Admiral October 12, 2015 (7:07 pm)

    Yellow, dirty water tonight for my kids bath. Need-less-to-say, no bath tonight!

  • sam-c October 13, 2015 (9:38 am)

    We still had yellow bathwater last night too. Are they doing anything to address it ?

    • WSB October 13, 2015 (9:49 am)

      Please call the city again to make sure they know. If you did, let me know what they told you.

  • sam-c October 16, 2015 (10:31 am)

    “re-routing through a system they don’t usually use, while the Myrtle Reservoir is out of service,” which you reported previously, is the explanation I got.

    I could copy/paste the response I got from the Senior Water Quality Engineer, but it is really long.

    also: “Also, due to the drought conditions this summer, SPU has been operating its well supply to augment the treated Cedar River supply normally serving West Seattle. SPU owns and operates three wells located near SeaTac airport. The well water contains slightly higher levels of manganese and iron than the treated Cedar River supply. Iron and manganese can contribute to the color you are seeing in the water. Please know historical levels for iron and manganese are below the regulatory standards (known as secondary maximum contaminant levels). In addition, the presence of iron and manganese in the water does not present a health concern, rather it presents an aesthetic concern, which you are experiencing.”

    and: they are taking and analyzing samples.

    • WSB October 16, 2015 (10:34 am)

      The manganese part is new. Thanks. I’ll ask about that when time allows.

  • Ashley on 21st October 17, 2015 (1:46 pm)

    Still having yellow/brownish water in the tub. We are in Puget Ridge.

    Any new updates?

  • WSB October 17, 2015 (3:34 pm)

    SPU’s on my followup list for Monday.

  • Danielle October 18, 2015 (4:43 pm)

    I was so looking forward to a bath! Just started the tub and walked away to watch the end of the game. When I returned the tub was full of nasty yellow water. I’m very sad. When will this be cleared up? I’m at the Alaska Junction.

  • Millie October 20, 2015 (2:06 pm)

    Thank you for the update – I thought I was imaging colored water coming from the kitchen faucet. Good to know it was not my eyesight. When will this be resolved? Another, rather redundant, question why were we not informed prior to the sudden appearance of discolored water?

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