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FYI: Two things aren’t allowed in your trash any more. Here’s what to do with them instead

Seattle Public Utilities is working to get the word out about two things that aren’t supposed to go in the garbage any more: Batteries and electronics. It’s a new city rule as of the start of this year. SPU explains both categories need “special handling”; batteries in particular have become a major fire risk at transfer stations. In short:

What doesn’t go in the garbage?

-Cathode ray tubes

-Electronic products covered by the Washington Electronics Recycling Law. These include:
*Computers and Laptops
*Tablets (like iPad and Amazon Fire)
*E-Readers (like Kindle and NOOK)
*Portable DVD Players

-Batteries, as defined under the state’s Dangerous Waste Regulations. Examples of batteries include but are not limited to:
*Miniature button cell batteries
*Alkaline, silver oxide, zinc air, and other single-use batteries
*Lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, and other rechargeable batteries

So if you can’t put any of this in your trash or recycling, what can you do with it? The city offers “special item pickups” at an extra charge. For free dropoff – batteries can be taken to the nearby South Transfer Station; this lookup also shows dropoffs at Junction True Value and The Home Depot. For electronics, free dropoff events are coming up in West Seattle this spring (more details when they get closer). There are private services such as Ridwell, too.

FOLLOWUP: Seattle City Light promises to remove much-vandalized fencing component at future charging site

(WSB photo with tags partly blurred out)

When Seattle City Light cleared its former substation/future EV-charging site in Morgan Junction, community advocates worried aloud that it would become a vacant eyesore for however much ensuing time it remained vacant, awaiting construction. Those concerns became reality as the cloth draping on the fencing around the site (4118 SW Morgan), which is bordered by two major streets (Fauntleroy and Morgan), has been repeatedly vandalized by taggers (it’s even visible via a Google Street View image from a year ago). When SCL reps came to last week’s Morgan Community Association meeting with a project update – bottom line, as reported here, the site won’t be open for at least a year – MoCA president Deb Barker asked the reps in attendance if SCL would clean up the tagging; the rep wouldn’t commit to that, and suggested the vandalism would probably stop when the site is “activated” (built). So we followed up with SCL spokesperson Jenn Strang to ask if it were really true that the utility had no intention of cleaning up the fencing. She replied that it’s actually not needed any more anyway, so they’ll just remove it: “Thank you for bringing this to our attention. The mesh barrier that has been tagged is no longer required and we have requested that it be removed. A timeline for the removal will be available after a work order has been generated.”

Cloudy water in Arbor Heights

January 20, 2024 6:01 pm
|    Comments Off on Cloudy water in Arbor Heights
 |   Arbor Heights | Utilities | West Seattle news

The report is from Beth. The Seattle Public Utilities map doesn’t show any current problems, but there have been several repairs in Arbor Heights in recent days. This too is a problem to report, if it happens to you, to SPU’s 24-hour line at 206-386-1800.

Water break in Arbor Heights

Thanks to Zach and Avery for the reports about a water break on SW 106th in Arbor Heights. Seattle Public Utilities‘ water-problem map says about 15 homes were without water for an hour-plus but that it’s restored now. Others may have, or have had, discolored water as a result.

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Puget Sound Energy’s gas-saving request, and the outage it didn’t mention

Puget Sound Energy provides natural-gas service in our area (and electricity in many other areas outside Seattle). If you’re a customer, you probably got an email alert tonight, requesting conservation and saying in part:

This evening, we’re asking customers to set their thermostats at a lower setting and limit the use of hot water, such as dishwashing or clothes washing, dryers and other appliances.

What the notice didn’t mention is that a major gas-storage facility operated by PSE suffered an outage earlier today – Jackson Prairie Underground Natural Gas Storage Facility in Lewis County. After seeing this report, and a PSE quote here, we contacted the utility and received the same statement:

Jackson Prairie went offline around 2 p.m. today. It has steadily been coming back on since then.

Puget Sound Energy is asking customers to conserve natural gas and electricity use through the evening hours. Due to the extreme cold temperatures facing our area, regional utilities are experiencing higher energy use than forecasted, and we need to reduce strain on the grid.

PSE has not yet commented on what caused the facility to go offline.

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Snow or no, sub-freezing temperatures are on the way. Here’s advice on home readiness

(Photo by James Bratsanos)

Lowland snow? Maybe. Sub-freezing cold? Definitely. That’s the current forecast for what’s on the way. Starting tomorrow night, temperatures will drop below freezing, with daytime highs in the 20s on Friday and Saturday, overnight lows as cold as the upper teens on Friday and Saturday nights. So Seattle Public Utilities – which handles water service among other things – wants you to be ready. Today SPU invited media crews to a home in Seaview for demonstrations on simple steps you can take – like protecting outdoor faucets:

(WSB photos/video from here)

In our photo is SPU’s Sabrina Clark-Bentley, who showed options for that – either a foam cover you can buy, or a DIY wrap with an old sock or towel, plastic bags, and tape:

Inside, SPU recommends turning on a faucet to a “slow drip” when it’s below freezing, so water keeps flowing in your pipes to reduce the chance of a break. In your kitchen, if your sink is against an exterior wall, open the doors beneath it to bring in warmer air:

And know where your water shutoff is, in case you need it. Other things to consider before the cold wave hits – storm-drain clearing. That’s part of what we discussed in a brief interview with SPU’s emergency-management program manager Chad Buechler:

Again, the number he mentioned for SPU-related emergencies, like water breaks and clogged street drains, is 206-386-1800 (same one we often mention for brown water).

REMINDER: Trash, recycling, yard-waste pickup on one-day delay through next week. It’s tree-pickup time too

In case you forgot, if you have solid waste pickup service via Seattle Public Utilities, the schedule is on one-day delay this week and next week, since there are no pickups on Christmas Day or New Year’s Day. And starting today, pickup crews will take your Christmas trees and/or holiday greens – here’s the SPU how-to:

Customers can compost trees and holiday greens for free from December 26 – January 31. Customers should remove all decorations, cut the tree into sections – 4-foot or less – and place tree sections or bundled greens next to their food & yard waste cart on their regular collection day. Apartment residents may place up to two trees next to each food & yard waste cart at no charge (SPU recommends customers reach out to their property manager about their collection day and when to set out their tree). Customers can also drop off up to 3 trees less than 8 feet in length at a Transfer Station.

For more details and to find out what to do with your holiday items once you’re done with them, check out SPU’s lookup tool at seattle.gov/utilities/WhereDoesItGo.

Brown water in The Junction

We’ve received two reports this afternoon of brown water in The Junction. So far no line breaks mapped; other possible causes include hydrant testing and construction. If it happens to you, be sure to report to SPU at 206-386-1800.

Garbage/recycling pickup days shifting during Christmas and New Year’s weeks

(Seattle.gov file photo)

A white Christmas is looking unlikely. But your solid-waste pickup dates will be shifting next week and the week after because of the holidays, whatever the weather, if you’re a Seattle Public Utilities customer. No pickup on the next two Mondays – Christmas Day and New Year’s Day – so everyone will shift a day later both weeks – Monday customers get Tuesday pickup, Tuesday customers get Wednesday pickup, Wednesday customers on Thursday, Thursday customers on Friday, Friday customers on Saturday. Then the week of January 8th, everything goes back to normal. SPU also reminds you that it’ll le.take trees and holiday greens for free December 26th through January 31st – guidelines are here (along with charts detailing the temporary pickup-day changes).

FOLLOWUP: City says water supply is finally back to normal

Almost three months after the city asked people to use less water, the reservoirs are finally back to normal or near-normal, according to an announcement this morning from Seattle Public Utilities. This of course is thanks to not only reduced water use but also above-average fall rain (with scenes like the Lincoln Park “waterfall” in video from last Tuesday) – this month is at more than triple the average so far, and rain since October 1st is three inches above normal, though rain since January 1st remains two inches below normal. The city says the Cedar Reservoir is back to normal; the South Fork Tolt Reservoir is not, but they think it will be within a few months. Saving water is still a good thing, SPU says, so you can go here for advice on that. When the city asked customers to use less water, usage totaled 149 million gallons a day, and SPU set a goal of cutting that by a third, to 100 million gallons a day; archived updates say the usage almost reached that goal, bottoming out at 101 million gallons a day.

Meet ‘Tracing Alki’ artist

If you run, walk, or ride along Alki, you’ve probably seen the recently completed “Tracing Alki” public art at newly overhauled Pump Station 38. The artist, Sarah Thompson Moore, is there until noon to answer questions about it. It’s inspired by old topographical maps of the area and spans the site (1400 block Alki Avenue SW) from the cabinet in the photo to the newly installed safety rail. The concept was announced in 2020, as Seattle Public Utilities prepared for the pump-station renovation.

WEST SEATTLE WEATHER: Early-morning wind topples trees (updated)

9:55 AM: West Seattle escaped major power outages when the wind swept through for a few hours this morning – but there is one 27-customer outage on the Seattle City Light map, and that tree is the reason. Thanks to David for sending the photo and reporting, “We didn’t totally escape unscathed from last night’s wind storm. The wind knocked down a tree in the back of the apartments at 5220 California at around 3 am. So far that building and the ones behind it are out of power – no word from SFD or SCL on when they are coming to address the downed power lines.” Let us know if you are seeing any other storm damage – here in Upper Fauntleroy, a tree-sized branch came off a big evergreen, but landed harmlessly on an unoccupied planting strip. As for the weather, partly sunny and calm right now, but more major rain is on the way by tomorrow.

1:10 PM: That outage is fixed. But it wasn’t the only big tree brought down early today:

That photo is from Seaview resident Kaci, who says, “We lost a big beautiful Aspen tree during the windstorm last night. It fell at about 3 am. No major damage to our house except our rain gutters. Our catio didn’t fare so well.”

4:55 PM: A commenter notes that the first situation isn’t entirely resolved, and indeed, a new marker on the outage map shows that.

UPDATE: Water break in North Delridge

November 27, 2023 11:29 am
|    Comments Off on UPDATE: Water break in North Delridge
 |   Delridge | Utilities | West Seattle news

Thanks to Jay for the tip. Seattle Public Utilities crews are working on a water break in the 4700 block of 26th SW. More than 50 customers are affected, according to the SPU outage map.

1:15 PM: Jay says the water is back on. SPU tells us the leak was in an 8-inch cast iron distribution main but they don’t know what caused it.

MEET THE ARTIST: ‘Tracing Alki’ celebration at Pump Station 38 next Saturday

Three years after we first reported on the art planned for the Pump Station 38 overhaul in the 1400 block of Alki Avenue SW, the work is complete, and artist Sarah Thompson Moore will be visiting to answer questions about it during a casual celebration. Seattle Public Utilities invites you to stop by between 10 am and noon next Saturday (December 2nd). The work spans the site from a cabinet to the walkway to new safety fencing, and was inspired by an old topographic map of the area. SPU says the pump-station work – mostly to increase its capacity – is finished too, but the newly planted area will remain taped off until sometime next month so it has a chance to get established.

Brown water in West Seattle

November 23, 2023 12:44 pm
|    Comments Off on Brown water in West Seattle
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

For the second day in a row, we’re hearing of brown water in a West Seattle neighborhood … didn’t get a chance to publish the report Wednesday from Gatewood but just got a new one from Morgan Junction. They’ve reported it to Seattle Public Utilities, as you certainly should if it happens at your home or business – the 24-hour number is 206-386-1800. The discoloration is usually just rust stirred up in the lines, and the one thing you definitely don’t want to do until it clears up is laundry.

UPDATE: Tree blamed for West Seattle power outage

10:26 AM: After a blustery night, 134 West Seattle homes are dealing with a power outage. The power went out just after 5:30 am in the area shown in the Seattle City Light outage-map screengrab above, parts of Brace Point and Arbor Heights. SCL blames the outage on a tree.

3:28 PM: Just checked the map for the first time in a few hours; the outage is down to 21 customers.

7:47 PM: Since that last look, everyone’s been reconnected, per the map.

FYI: ‘Extra yard waste, no extra charge’ month is here!

Extra incentive to get those leaves off the sidewalk and away from storm drains – November is the month when Seattle Public Utilities allows you to set out up to 10 extra bags of yard waste each collection date, no extra charge. From the full announcement:

Extra yard waste must be contained either in kraft paper bags or placed in an extra container that is clearly marked to indicate it contains extra yard waste. Please make sure your extra yard waste collection bags or container only contain yard waste, not food waste. Fallen branches and twigs can be set out for extra collection as well. These can be tied into bundles up to 4 feet long by 2 feet in diameter and tied with fiber twine. Do not use wire, nylon cording, or plastic banding.

As commenters have pointed out in past years, if the leaves have fallen on greenspace – your lawn, garden, planting strip – you can just leave them there to decompose as mulch. Otherwise, bag ’em up and get ’em out!

UPDATE: Water break in eastern West Seattle

6:52 PM: Before sunset, we passed Seattle Public Utilities crews working on Delridge Way, just south of Louisa Boren STEM K-8. We checked the SPU water-outage map, and no problems – nor planned work – were listed. But now after a tip from Sam, who is without water in the Sylvan Way area, we’ve checked again, and SPU has an outage listed, affecting at least 59 customers – as shown on the map, and apparently a bit beyond.

UPDATE: Per the SPU map, service was restored at 7:21 pm.

UPDATE: Gas-leak response in Upper Fauntleroy

1:36 PM: For the second day in a row, SFD has responded to a house in the 8400 block of 42nd SW – which also has a side on SW Thistle – because of a gas leak. We don’t know Tuesday’s circumstances, but this time it’s described by firefighters as a small line – less than two inches – damaged by “digging in the back yard.”

1:40 PM: Police are being called to block SW Thistle just east of the scene, at 41st, and at California to the west.

1:56 PM: Puget Sound Energy (the gas utility for this area) is reported to have arrived.

2 PM: Firefighters just told dispatch that “the leak is secured.”

2:25 PM: SFD has closed out its response and the street has reopened.

Brown water in Fairmount Park area

Thanks to Libby for the report – brown water in the Fairmount Park area. Libby has already reported this to Seattle Public Utilities206-386-1800, the number to ALWAYS call about water trouble – and says SPU advised that there’s hydrant testing in the area. (The discoloration is caused when unusual activity, from hydrant testing to a fire response to a pipe break, stirs up “sediment,” most often rust, in the system.)

FOLLOWUP: Alki Pump Station 38 construction concluding, says SPU

Almost 15 months after Seattle Public Utilities started work on the Alki Pump Station 38 overhaul, the work is concluding, according to an announcement this afternoon. That includes the art shown in the photo, which extends to a new screened guardrail at the site, by artist Sarah Thompson Moore, inspired by Alki’s topographical features and history. A few details remain, per the city announcement:

As contractor crews transition off the project, they have a few final items to finish within the pump station itself over the next week. Otherwise, the roadway has been paved, the landscaping is currently in its establishment period, and the decorative utility cabinet wrap has been installed.

We recently put in new plants and grass seed around the pump station. To deter people and pets from walking in the areas so the grass can establish properly, the caution tape and stakes will remain up through December.

When the work started almost 15 months ago, SPU said it was expected to last about nine months. Most of the overhaul work was intended to upgrade the station infrastructure to deal with what SPU described as “a significant increase in flows.”

REMINDER: Overnight water outage Thursday/Friday for 650 customers in Morgan Junction, Gatewood, Fauntleroy

A reminder in case you didn’t see last week’s announcment or the postal mailer – or just forgot! – Thursday night is when Seattle Public Utilities plans to cut water service to 650 customers (mostly residential) in Morgan Junction, Gatewood, and Fauntleroy. 9 pm Thursday (October 5) to 4 am Friday (October 6) are the scheduled hours. The outage is for what’s essentially preventive maintenance – adding three valves to the system “to increase flexibility for how we send water through the distribution system (and to) reduce the number of customers impacted during future outages, whether during emergency repairs or planned shutdowns” like this, SPU says. The work will be done at California/Frontenac. Here’s the official notice.

UPDATE: Water-main break in Seaview

5 PM: Thanks for the tip! Seattle Public Utilities crews are working on a water-main break at 49th/Morgan. The SPU water-outage map says it started around 4:15 pm and that about 26 homes are affected.

UPDATE: SPU says water was restored just after 6 pm.