Last night we published a short reader report about a water-pressure problem in Belvidere, with Seattle Public Utilities telling a customer that a pump-station power problem was involved. We followed up with SPU today and learned that the city believes a thief/vandal is to blame. From SPU’s Ingrid Goodwin:
Around 7:45 pm last night, a power failure occurred at SPU’s Scenic Heights pump station, located at 3915 SW Charlestown St. This caused about 1,358 customers in the area to temporarily experience low pressure for about four hours (see map of the two areas impacted – outlined in purple). SPU electricians and maintenance staff were immediately dispatched to the pump station to investigate the problem. Crews discovered that an electrical plug-in device appeared to have been stolen. It was replaced and power was restored to the pump station around 11:45 pm. SPU is investigating this incident as possible vandalism.
We have a followup question asking for more information about the “electrical plug-in device.”
ADDED: Here’s how Goodwin answered that followup:
The safety of the drinking water supply was never compromised, and SPU staff continues to monitor and operate the drinking water system 24/7.
An electrical disconnect switch was likely stolen from the pump station, which caused the pump station to lose power. The switch is normally used to turn off power to the pump station if it needs to be maintained, so we can do maintenance safely.
When this particular pump station loses power, customers’ water pressure drops, but remains within a level designed to protect public health.
We are replacing the stolen electrical switch with a more tamper-proof model, and we’re evaluating added security needs at the pump station.