West Seattle’s 4th water-main break in 4 days

(Added: WSB photo)

Thanks for the texted tip. For the fourth time in four days, a West Seattle water main has ruptured. This time it’s in Arbor Heights, in the 3700 block of SW 100th. Seattle Public Utilities says more than 50 customers are affected. This follows a Sunday break in Sunrise Heights and two breaks Thursday in Fauntleroy (the second of those was caused by the first, according to SPU). More info when we get it.

16 Replies to "West Seattle's 4th water-main break in 4 days"

  • Also John March 6, 2023 (4:08 pm)

    Four water main breaks in four days got me wondering.     Might an increase in demand cause the break?   An increase in demand would increase the water velocity in the pipe.   It would also require the pump stations to turn on my often to maintain a usable pressure.   So I dug around and found this;     “Others suggested that large changes in demand also contributed to the frequency of breaks.Changes in demand, and the starting and stopping of system pumps, can create pressure waves in all types of pipes.”  So it appears the breaks may be caused by the increase in demand on the system?!

    • Question Authority March 6, 2023 (6:23 pm)

       If a change in demand was the case then in the Summer when everyone waters their lawn or fills a pool there would be far more breaks, this is simply Winter weather related.

      • Bill March 6, 2023 (8:36 pm)

        Faulty reasoning! — very few people water their lawns anymore.  And just how many swimming pools do think are in Arbor Heights? – or White Center? — or West Seattle?

  • my two cents March 6, 2023 (6:40 pm)

    Is March really a month where there is higher than average water usage? No sudden influx of customers .

  • dems da breaks March 6, 2023 (6:51 pm)

    Unless you’re suggesting that the very recent breaks themselves resulted in this demand on the system (which seems like a reasonable theory, actually),  I don’t see how there could be a sudden increase in demand on random days in March.  I mean, water use these days has got to be significantly lower than on any given hot summer day.  

  • Bswanson March 6, 2023 (7:58 pm)

    It’s the can being kicked down the road, it catches up at some point.   Seems we all pay enough of a water/utility bill in AH (WS in general) that a little bit of “pre-emptive” planning should be in place.  Alas, all the utility/power/etc. companies wait until it breaks to fix it.   Not sure what to do about that…

  • Niko March 6, 2023 (8:00 pm)

    So the other day when I made a comment that with all these water main breaks and power poles coming down it’s practically like living in a third world country and they gave me a hard time. With that person like to correct themselves today?

    • flimflam March 7, 2023 (5:53 am)

      Nah, you’re still overreacting and incorrect.

    • WestSeattleBadTakes March 7, 2023 (7:36 am)

      An expensive one at that! Have you considered moving to a different third world country? I bet it would be a heck of a lot cheaper and it would be exactly the same, win win!

  • Auntie March 6, 2023 (8:25 pm)

    And developers want to add eleven homes to a lot on 24th Ave SW directly across from Longfellow Creek. Is the water main on 24th ready to supply eleven more homes? Not to mention the development that is going in less than 1/2 block south of that site, also on 24th. I don’t think the utilities on that street are up to the additional usage. Just what we need – a broken water main, or worse, a broken sewer line running right into the creek.  It’s only a matter of time.

    • Lola March 7, 2023 (7:24 am)

      Auntie,  they keep wanting to build more homes and Apt. bldg. but they do not make them update the pipes or have to make sure that our system can handle that much more load?  No wonder West Seattle has the problems that it has.  Just keep overloading the system it will all work its-self out.  Right?????

  • Tracy March 7, 2023 (5:37 am)

    I purchased a townhouse (in a new community of 10) that was built on a lot that previously had 1 house. We had an inspection but didn’t have the water/sewer lines out to the street checked (of course not). Another buyer, younger and more paranoid than I actually paid to have the lines to the street checked. Come to find out they were on the verge of failing in a very big way. We had time to force the builder to work with the city to update the system.  All of the new owners bought a nice bottle of bourbon for that young man!!  I’m not sure why the developers aren’t mandated to update all of the infrastructure, at least within their project’s neck of the woods, as part of their permitting.  Especially if they are increasing the number of units!  Sorry.  I rambled.

  • Mark47n March 7, 2023 (7:18 am)

    All of these complex explanations but no one wants to talk about how old these mains are. These have a lifecycle and they must have outlived them, lust like any other system.            

    • WSB March 7, 2023 (12:12 pm)

      We noted the mains’ age in the followup about the Fauntleroy and have in prior coverage too, I have that question out with other followups on this one but have yet to hear back from SPU so far.

  • Colonel Mustard's Wrench March 7, 2023 (10:50 am)

    What BSwanson, Niko, & Auntie said.
    Seattle continues to overdevelop beyond the capability of the infrastructure.
    Political pressures (from the Governor on down) push the Utility Departments of Seattle (Seattle City Light, Seattle Department of Transportation, Seattle Public Utilities) and the Seattle Department of Construction & Inspections to accept more and more density – but at the same time NOT bolstering the infrastructure of each service to handle expanded capacity.

    Until the Mayor and the Seattle City Council prioritize the infrastructure (and budget to expand it to the ongoing additions of population) we will continue to see Third World reliability.
    The heads of the different departments are expected to smile and nod at the City Council and Mayor. 
    If they protest, do they jeopardize their appointments and large salaries ?

    It’s a mess.

    The general public will never hear the real reason those poles came down on East Marginal. 
    But I can tell you that the crew had been aware of the problem with those poles for years, and had been bringing it to the attention of those that could authorize the fix.
    Let’s talk about budgets.  Whereas on a Monday, a leaning pole that is deemed an imminent risk has a crew dispatched the next day to replace it, when a shell game occurs with budgets, all of sudden, that same leaning pole is tolerated and put on a back burner for months, or years, or until it falls down.
    The term “Run to Failure” is utilized by Seattle City Light.
    It’s difficult for the Mayor and Seattle City Council to get accurate information from these different utilities, because the Superintendents of each utility are desperate to please, rather than inform.
    Seattle needs a maintenance program for the failing, inadequate infrastructure. 
    And the way to get that is with an informed Mayor and an informed Seattle City Council. 
    Courageous Superintendents could provide that information.  From there, the Mayor and City Council could appropriate adequate budgets to prevent this increasing Third World decline in our city.

  • DC March 7, 2023 (10:54 am)

    I wonder if the broken 24″ pipe on Kenyon and 24th is adding strain to the system. I think only a couple of people were directly connected to it, but such a huge pipe must have been doing  important work for the system. 

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