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UTILITY WORK: Planned outage next week for ~500 customers

March 14, 2022 1:39 pm
|    Comments Off on UTILITY WORK: Planned outage next week for ~500 customers
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news | White Center

If you’re on one of the orange-shaded blocks of Westwood, South Delridge, and White Center, you should have received a notice from Seattle Public Utilities about a planned overnight water outage next week for about 500 homes/businesses: 9 pm Tuesday, March 22nd, to 6 am the next morning, Wednesday, March 23rd. SPU says the outage is needed because “SPU crews will be testing the water main shut off valves and preparing for some hydrant and water main work that will occur in April.” If you didn’t receive a notice, here’s the one-sheet explaining what to do and what not to do before and during the outage.

FOLLOWUP: Worn-out Beach Drive sewer pipe leaked tens of thousands of gallons

That’s where crews worked to repair a 27-inch-wide sewer pipe over the past few days, one week after it leaked, sending liquid bubbling up over the street and sidewalk on Beach Drive north of Lowman Beach. The King County Wastewater Treatment Division, which is responsible for this pipe, said sand and grit simply wore a hole in the concrete pipe, which KCWTD says is more than 70 years old. We asked about the volume of the leak, which bubbled up for hours. KCWTD spokesperson Marie Fiore tells WSB that via “modeling,” they estimate the total amount of the leak was 40,500, with about 33,500 of that discharged on the surface: “A portion was absorbed into the ground and most went into the storm drains.” Last week, after the leak was reported, KCWTD crews rerouted the flow from the leaky pipe into a parallel pipe, and cleaned the area; they returned starting this past Friday for repairs.

Brown water reported in Admiral

Just got a text from someone reporting brown water from the taps near 41st/Walker. No emergency outages reported on the Seattle Public Utilities map, nor recent nearby fires (hydrant use also can stir up the sediment – mostly rust – in the system).

Any time this happens at your residence/business, call SPU at 206-386-1800.

FOLLOWUP: Sewer-pipe repairs to affect Beach Drive traffic later this week

March 9, 2022 4:45 pm
|    Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: Sewer-pipe repairs to affect Beach Drive traffic later this week
 |   Environment | Utilities | West Seattle news

(WSB photo, last Thursday)

Last Thursday, we reported on a broken 27-inch sewer pipe beneath Beach Drive just north of Lowman Beach. It’s a King County pipe, and the Wastewater Treatment Division has just announced plans for repair work later this week:

The parts needed for the pipe repair are scheduled to arrive tomorrow. We expect to begin the repair on Friday, March 11. At the start of work, contractors will close one lane of traffic. Work is currently planned to continue through Sunday. Upon completion of the repair a temporary patch of hot mix asphalt will return the road to an open condition. King County will return to complete the final restoration of the road at a future date.

During the work, one lane will be closed to traffic, so flaggers will be there to direct people through the area. Work windows are 7 am-7 pm weekdays, 9 am-7 pm weekends. As for the leak’s cause, KCWTD spokesperson Marie Fiore tells WSB, “Sand and grit has scoured the 70+/- year old concrete pipe, which wears it away with time and use. The parallel pipe is in good condition, as it experiences less use.” That parallel pipe is where the flow from the leaky one has been redirected until repairs are made.

Why the power’s out along parts of Beach Drive, Seaview

March 9, 2022 1:42 pm
|    Comments Off on Why the power’s out along parts of Beach Drive, Seaview
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

A reader just texted to report arriving home in Seaview to discover the power’s out. Seattle City Light‘s map shows nearly 200 customers out; while the map doesn’t indicate it’s a planned outage, Beach Drive Blog reported receiving a notice about two weeks ago about a scheduled outage in that area today for installation of utility poles.

FOLLOWUP: Repairs ahead for broken sewer pipe beneath Beach Drive

New information today about Thursday’s sewer-pipe leak beneath Beach Drive, north of Lowman Beach. As noted in a late-night update added to our original coverage, it’s a King County Wastewater Treatment Division pipe, and right now, a crew is on scene using a video camera to get a closer look at the problem. We’ve talked with KCWTD spokesperson Marie Fiore, who says the pipe carries West Seattle sewage to the West Point treatment plant across Elliott Bay. It runs parallel to another pipe, so they had to “hand dig” to get to it for investigative purposes, so the other pipe isn’t damaged in the process, Fiore explained; that one is now carrying what would have been routed through the leaky pipe. She says they’re 70-year-old concrete pipes. Once the camera crew – whose work has traffic down to one lane, with flaggers, in the area right now – is done, they’ll know the timing and scope of repair work. Meantime, the Lowman Beach shore – affected by the seawall construction work right now anyway – will stay closed at least through the weekend, as Fiore says water-testing results aren’t expected back until Monday. They’re also working on an estimate of how much sewage spilled before the leak was stopped last night.

DEADLINE: File by tomorrow if you got a notice about Seattle City Light billing lawsuit

If you got a notice saying you might be eligible for part of a class-action settlement in a lawsuit over Seattle City Light billing, but put it aside and forgot about it, here’s your reminder that tomorrow is the deadline for taking action. Your West Seattle neighbor Lynda emailed us suggesting you might need a nudge. Here’s the original city announcement of the settlement; the suit was over “estimated” bills between 2015 and 2020. You can file a claim via this website. That’s also where the lawsuit’s background is explained (follow the “What is this lawsuit about?” link on the FAQs page. The FAQs also explain that if you’re eligible, and still an SCL customer, your compensation will come as a bill credit.)

UTILITY WORK ALERT: 8th SW project starting soon

Thanks to Margaret for the tip. She got a postal-mail flyer from Seattle Public Utilities about work coming up on 8th SW just north of SW Roxbury and thought you should know, given the increased traffic through that area because of bridge detouring. We asked SPU about it, and they sent the flyer, which says the work will repair a sewer line on 8th between Roxbury and Cambridge. Work could start as soon as next Monday (February 21st) and could last up to three weeks. Lane closures and parking restrictions are part of the plan, which says general work hours will be 7 am-4 pm weekdays.

OUTAGE: Comcast/Xfinity service reported out for thousands

9:44 AM: Thanks to the multiple readers in Highland Park who have sent word of this – an Xfinity/Comcast service outage that the company says is affecting more than 2,500 customers. Let us know if it’s affecting you in other areas; we’re checking with the company.

ADDED MONDAY EVENING: We dead-ended while looking for a Comcast contact earlier but a regional spokesperson emailed us tonight to say: “We experienced an interruption today at 8:03 a.m. with our internet service in Highland Park. Our engineers began working to address the issue immediately and as of 8:44 a.m., service was restored. We apologize to those who were affected.”

In case you’re wondering too: No, the garbage strike does NOT include West Seattle

Several people have asked us today whether our area’s residential solid-waste collection is affected by the strike against Republic Services. So in case you’re wondering too, the short answer: No. Long answer: In West Seattle and elsewhere, Seattle Public Utilities contracts with other companies for pickup – Waste Management and Recology. Their drivers are NOT on strike – the strike is against Republic only. The walkout started a month ago in San Diego and has since spread to Republic facilities in King County. While the city does work with a Republic-operated recycling facility, an SPU spokesperson is quoted in The Seattle Times as saying that will not affect service.

P.S. Separate from the strike situation, tomorrow’s MLK Day holiday also will NOT affect service in West Seattle, though some other areas of the city are on a one-day delay, as explained here. (Monday note: Some commenters say they’ve received notifications to the contrary – please let us know if you did too, as we will be asking SPU tomorrow about their apparently erroneous/incomplete announcement.)

White Center water break blamed for Highland Park trouble too

The photos are from a water-main break in White Center that is being blamed for trouble including discolored water in Highland Park. The photos are from Tom, who told us via email: “We had a water main break down here in White Center right in front of Mount View Elementary. All of 12th north of the school down to 106th was flooded. I think that the water was also flowing down to Coronado Springs but I never had a chance to see how bad it was down there. Most of us on 12th were pretty busy trying to keep the water out of our houses to limited success. Crews are tearing up the street now to repair and all of us have had our water shut off.”

In Highland Park, residents reporting brown water to Seattle Public Utilities (always call it in to 206-386-1800) report they were told the White Center break is to blame. The SPU water-outage map says it started just before 6 pm.

FOLLOWUP: Closer look at Highland Park Way slide, as cleanup and closure continue

2:38 PM: More than 25 hours after a slide took out trees and power lines, closing the Highland Park Way hill and cutting power to 3,200 homes and businesses, the cleanup continues and the road remains closed. We’ve received photos and an update from SDOT.

SDOT spokesperson Ethan Bergerson tells WSB that crews from other city departments are assisting – including Seattle City Light and Parks and Recreation: “City crews are still working to clear debris and perform erosion control. There is still a lot of debris, and the hillside is muddy and destabilized. We understand that this is an important detour route for the West Seattle Bridge closure and are working hard to reopen some lanes as soon as it is safe to do so.”

No ETA for reopening all or part of the hill, though, Bergerson says. (The power outage was resolved within 8 1/2 hours, as noted in our Friday updates.) A slide in 2017 closed the same stretch of road for more than two days.

8:20 PM: Update from SDOT via Twitter:

10:24 PM: Reopened.

UPDATE: Highland Park Way closed after tree falls, also causing big power outage

1:02 PM: Thanks for the tips. More than 3,200 customers lost power about 10 minutes ago in east West Seattle and South Park. No word yet on the cause.

1:06 PM: We’re just hearing about a tree down on wires along Highland Park Way – so that may be the cause. SFD and Seattle City Light are being dispatched. The tree also is reported to be blocking two lanes of traffic.

1:18 PM: Thanks to the reader who texted the pic of the tree. Police have told dispatch they’re blocking southbound lanes on Highland Park Way because of it – they’re also reporting more tree trouble as part of the hill slides. Readers say the outage has taken out the HP Way/West Marginal light too. Also, another reader tells us Sanislo Elementary is being dismissed early because of the outage.

2:15 PM: Added above, another view – sent by Stephanie – of the tree trouble on the Highland Park Way hill. Thanks for all the updates in comments, especially on the major lights that are out too. Also, traffic advice from readers: Avoid HP Way/Marginal entirely, with both the hill blocked and the signal out; also, a request: “Please put out the word to folks not to try to cut though on Austin St to get down Highland Park Way. You can’t get through.”

3 PM: Metro also has noted that Route 131 is routed off HP Way right now because of the blockage.

3:27 PM: SCL has reconnected the South Park side of the outage. 1,200+ customers still out on this side of the river. Here’s the area still out:

3:48 PM: And thanks to Arinna for this closer view of the fallen tree:

That photo is from just minutes ago, Arinna (who lives nearby) says, while also confirming that the hill is blocked to traffic both ways.

3:56 PM: Hundreds more just got their power back … total number still out is down to 960.

4:24 PM: And another hundred-plus are back on – down to 834 out. Reminder, Highland Park Way hill is still closed.

6:39 PM: SDOT says its crews are still working to clear the tree, as SCL works to restore power. The HP Way hill remains closed – here’s the nearest traffic camera (currently showing the barricades across the road at the bottom of the hill):

7:57 PM: Remaining power outage nearly halved – 441 customers now out.

8:14 PM: And now down to 77 customers. Craig, whose power was restored a short time ago, sent this photo of work continuing at the scene:

9:20 PM: Now everyone’s back on except for two customers. Also of note, the cause listed on the map – usually just a word or two – now says “landslide.”

11:59 PM: The Highland Park Way hill is still blocked off, 11 hours after the tree fell.

2:08 AM: As of a few minutes ago, the barricades were still up; now the camera at West Marginal/HP Way has just gone out of service.

8 AM SATURDAY: Camera’s back and shows the hill still blocked off.

10:40 AM: A reader talked with an SDOT worker in the area a short time ago and was told the road should reopen “in about 2 hours.”

2:32 PM: That obviously didn’t happen. We’ve since heard directly from SDOT and are publishing a followup shortly.

Electric bill seem way too high? Might be a mistake, Seattle City Light says

If you got an online Seattle City Light electricity bill this week, take a good look – you might be one of more than 12,000 customers who were erroneously double-billed. That’s according to an online update from the utility:

City Light became aware of an error in our billing system that resulted in some Seattle City Light residential customers receiving bill notifications on Jan. 4, 2022, that show double charges for the same usage. The error was limited to a subset of approximately 12,500 residential customer bills processed. We have paused all bill processing until we are certain the issue is fixed.

We learned of the issue in time to stop the mailing of the potentially impacted paper bills and prevent payment processing for those customers on autopay. However, customers who are signed up for e-billing may have received an email alert with the erroneous bill information. Customers who received such a bill should not pay it. If a customer already paid the bill due to receiving the email, please contact (206) 684-3000.

We will reprocess all incorrect bills and send revised bills to impacted customers. We expect revised bills will be issued by the end of the week.

The online update was added to an SCL post about rates rising at the start of the year – about two percent.

FOLLOWUP: What to do if you’ve missed two garbage/recycling collection days, and other answers

As promised, we asked Seattle Public Utilities today if Monday and Tuesday residential solid-waste customers who’ve missed two weeks of pickups should just give up until next week. We also asked if Waste Management will be working Saturday to catch up. Here are the responses from SPU spokesperson Shanna Christie:

Monday and Tuesday customers who have been missed twice, should bring their carts in and set out triple volumes next week. These customers also have the option to bring waste to SPU transfer stations for no charge, if they prefer.

Waste Management will be working Saturday to service Friday customers on a one day delay, but this will not impact Mon and Tue West Seattle customers.

We apologize to any customers not serviced this week and appreciate their patience. This service recovery is a significant lift for everyone involved and drivers and operations crews are working long hours with challenging double and holiday volumes.

SPU has subsequently launched an FAQ page which includes info like this and more. Among other things, they are still not planning on any kind of credit for those who’ve missed two weeks, although the city did that in similar post-snow circumstances in 2019.

FOLLOWUP: Where residential garbage, recycling, yard-waste collection stands on catch-up day 3

That’s a Waste Management truck seen this past hour in Gatewood. We’ve heard from some readers whose neighborhoods have had solid-waste pickup so far this catch-up week and some who haven’t. We asked Seattle Public Utilities this morning for an update on where things stand – here’s the reply we received from spokesperson Sabrina Register:

Waste Management reports they had good success yesterday picking up scheduled garbage, recycling, and yard waste in West Seattle in neighborhoods, with the exception of customers located on hilly, icy streets where it remained unsafe for 25,000-pound trucks to operate. They also collected approximately 50% of ‘off-week’ recycling in West Seattle.

On all of their routes in different Seattle neighborhoods yesterday and operating on the announced one-day delay, they collected waste from 95% of Monday customers.

For customers in West Seattle who were missed both last week and this week, they can take their garbage, recycling and yard/food waste to one of our transfers station at no charge through January 9. They need to let staff at that transfer station know that they have been missed two times consecutively.

Seattle Public Utilities thanks customers for their patience as we and our contractors, Waste Management and Recology, prioritize safety to staff, customers and private property.

If you’re a Monday customer but your garbage/recycling/yard waste hasn’t been picked up yet …

(Photo by Jeremy Barton)

As shown in our previous story, Waste Management trucks were still having a tough time in some neighborhoods. So here’s an update from Seattle Public Utilities:

Collection contractors attempted residential collections today, Monday January 3, and determined there are still unsafe road conditions in neighborhoods that has delayed some collections. This will have impacts throughout the week and there will be delays in residential garbage, recycling, or food/yard waste pickup for some customers.

Customers should set out their Garbage, Recycling, and Food/Yard Waste on their regular collection day and leave it out the following day if not collected. Friday customers, if missed, should keep their carts out on Saturday. Customers should be sure to have their containers out by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.

Residential customers are permitted to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling, and compost this week for no additional charge. This includes recycling collection, even if it’s not your typical week for collection. Contractors will attempt to collect this ‘off-week’ recycling, if possible, but may not be able to collect all. Customers can call 206-684-3000 for additional support if needed.

REMINDER: This week’s garbage/recycling plan, plus what to do with Christmas trees (updated Monday evening

SUNDAY NIGHT: As rain finally melts the snow, finally clearing unplowed roads, here’s a reminder of how city garbage/recycling/yard waste pickup will work this week: Everybody will be on their regular collection day, allowed to set out up to double the usual volume. If your collection day last week was supposed to include recycling, you can put that out too, although Seattle Public Utilities cautions that its contractors “will attempt to collect this ‘off-week’ recycling, if possible, but may not be able to collect all.” As for what to use:

-Extra garbage can be set out in bags or a personal can.

-Extra recycling can go out in a cardboard box or paper bag.

-Extra compost shouldn’t contain food and can go in a personal can or paper bag.

As for Christmas trees, you have until January 31st – you can “place up to 2 trees or bundled greens next to your food & yard waste cart on each regular collection day throughout the month of January” – with all decorations removed, and the trees cut into sections no more than 4′ long. Or, you can take up to 3 trees, up to 8′ tall, to transfer stations for free all month long – the nearest one is the South Transfer Station at 130 S. Kenyon (here’s how to get there).

MONDAY EVENING UPDATE: From SPU:

Collection contractors attempted residential collections today, Monday January 3, and determined there are still unsafe road conditions in neighborhoods that has delayed some collections. This will have impacts throughout the week and there will be delays in residential garbage, recycling, or food/yard waste pickup for some customers.

Customers should set out their Garbage, Recycling, and Food/Yard Waste on their regular collection day and leave it out the following day if not collected. Friday customers, if missed, should keep their carts out on Saturday. Customers should be sure to have their containers out by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.

(We’ve also published this separately.)

IT’S OFFICIAL: No garbage, recycling, yard-waste pickup Friday, double for everyone next week

Seattle Public Utilities made it official tonight – no solid-waste pickup Friday, so that makes it a sweep – double pickup for everyone on their regular days next week. Here’s the announcement:

Due to remaining icy and unsafe conditions on many residential streets, residential and most commercial solid waste collection services are cancelled for Friday, December 31.

Transfer stations and the Household Hazardous Waste Facility will remain open with normal hours.

All collections are scheduled to resume next week beginning Monday, January 3. All missed residential customers are permitted to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling, and compost on their collection day for no additional charge. This includes recycling collection, even if it’s not a customer’s typical week for collection. Contractors will attempt to collect this ‘off-week’ recycling, if possible, but may not be able to collect all.

For tips on setting out extra waste, (go here). Customers should be sure to have their containers out by 7 a.m. to ensure collection.

Temperatures are supposed to be close to normal next week.

CANCELED AGAIN: No residential garbage, recycling, yard-waste pickup again Thursday

Seattle Public Utilities has officially canceled residential solid-waste collection for tomorrow (Thursday), too – here’s the grid:

As we reported this morning, if your missed collection day this week would have included recycling, they’ll try to make that up next week. Tonight’s update reiterates that and answers a few other questions:

Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling, and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day.

If you are setting out extra next week, here are a few tips:

-Extra garbage can be set out in bags or a personal can.
-Extra recycling can go out in a cardboard box or paper bag.
-Extra compost shouldn’t contain food and can go in a personal can or paper bag.
-See more details on our website.

Customers whose recycling was not picked up this week due to unsafe conditions created by snow and ice should set out their recycling carts (along with garbage and food/yard waste carts) on their next collection day, even though it is not their scheduled week for recycling pickup.

Our Solid Waste contractors will make every attempt to pick up recycling next week but this requires servicing an additional set of routes they are normally not equipped to cover, in addition to collecting double volumes on regular routes, during the recovery week.

If a customer’s recycling is not collected next week, they can set out extra recycling, at no additional cost, on their next scheduled recycling pickup day.

CANCELED AGAIN: No residential garbage, recycling, yard-waste pickup Wednesday

(WSB photo)

7:14 PM: For the third consecutive day, with most residential streets still coated in snow and ice, Seattle Public Utilities has canceled residential solid-waste pickup for Wednesday. Here’s the full announcement from SPU:

Due to significant remaining snow and ice on residential streets in Seattle, solid waste collections will not be able to Due to remaining ice and snow, there will be no residential garbage, recycling, or food/yard waste pickup in Seattle on Wednesday, December 29. Commercial & multifamily collections will resume on 12/29. Transfer stations and Hazardous Waste drop-off remain open with normal hours.

Collection schedules should resume as follows:

Monday (12/27) residential customers will be collected Monday (1/3).
Tuesday (12/28) residential customers will be collected Tuesday (1/4).
*Wednesday (12/29) residential customers will be collected Thursday (12/30).
*Thursday (12/30) residential customers will be collected Friday (12/31).
Friday (12/31) residential customers will be collected Friday (1/7) due to the holiday on 1/1.
*Both Wednesday & Thursday collections will be as conditions allow.

Customers missed this week will be allowed to set out double their normal amount of garbage, recycling, and yard waste at no additional charge, on their next scheduled collection day.

P.S. We’re asking SPU whether missed recycling pickups will be made up next week too, for the customers who aren’t getting any collection this week.

ADDED WEDNESDAY MORNING: The reply to that question, via SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register:

Customers whose recycling was not picked up this week due to unsafe conditions created by snow and ice should set out their recycling carts (along with garbage and food/yard waste carts) on their next collection day, even though it is not their scheduled week for recycling pickup.

Our Solid Waste contractors will make every attempt to pick up recycling next week but this requires servicing an additional set of routes they are normally not equipped to cover, in addition to collecting double volumes on regular routes, during the recovery week.

If a customer’s recycling is not collected next week, they can set out extra recycling, at no additional cost, on their next scheduled recycling pickup day.

And a friendly reminder for customers-don’t forget to break down those holiday boxes before putting them in the recycling cart.

CANCELED AGAIN: No garbage, recycling, yard-waste pickup Tuesday

Seattle Public Utilities has just announced that it’s canceling residential solid-waste pickup tomorrow, too. Monday and Friday customers are now scratched until next week; what happens to everybody else depends on how Wednesday goes. Here’s the full announcement:

Due to significant remaining snow and ice on residential streets in Seattle, solid waste collections will not be able to safely operate Tues Dec 28. Garbage, recycling and yard/food waste collections are canceled.

Monday customers will be serviced next week – Monday Jan. 3
Tuesday customers will be serviced Wednesday, if conditions allow
Wednesday and Thursday customers will be collected this Thursday and Friday, if conditions allow
Friday customers will need to be delayed to next Friday, Jan. 7, due to the Jan. 1 holiday on Saturday

Essential customers will continue to be serviced this week.

SPU transfer stations will be open normal hours tomorrow (Tuesday) and the rest of the week. Household hazardous material locations will also remain open.

FOLLOWUP: What caused Friday morning’s big West Seattle power outage

December 27, 2021 12:26 pm
|    Comments Off on FOLLOWUP: What caused Friday morning’s big West Seattle power outage
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

Back on Friday morning, West Seattle had the second big early-morning power outage in three days. No indication at the time what caused it, and followup information wasn’t available later that day, so we followed up today. Seattle City Light spokesperson Jenn Strang says, “The cause of the outage in West Seattle that morning was due to a tree falling into wires along Harbor Ave SW. The outage started at 2:20 am with 3,249 customers, 1,996 customers were restored at 5:20 am, all customers were restored by 6:01 am.” (The outage two days earlier was also tree vs. line, but that one was in North Delridge.)