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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.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s the reason for the work during next week’s planned water outage in three West Seattle neighborhoods

If your home is among the 650+ Seattle Public Utilities customers that will be affected by a planned overnight water outage next week – first reported here yesterday – watch your postal mail for the official notice. (We’re affected and received ours this morning.) Notification is one of the things we asked SPU’s Sabrina Register about when following up on the announcement of the outage, scheduled to start at 9 pm Thursday, October 5th, ending by 4 am Friday, October 6th, affecting 650+ customers in Morgan Junction, Gatewood, and Fauntleroy. The notice said crews would be replacing three valves, so we asked where and why, and whether it was related at all to the frequent brown-water reports earlier this year. First answer: The work will be done at California/Frontenac. As for the rest, it’s explained as mostly preventive maintenance:

The valves are additions to the existing system and do not replace old equipment. This won’t alter pressure or increase capacity, and the work is unrelated to discolored water occurrences. The purpose of the valve installation is to increase flexibility for how we send water through the distribution system. Additionally, the valves will reduce the number of customers impacted during future outages, whether during emergency repairs or planned shutdowns such as the one that will occur on October 5. Specifically, this work will allow for isolating the feeder main in California Ave north or south of the intersection. Generally, we are working to add valves throughout the system where we have long stretches of main with valves spaced far apart.

The official notice – most of which we featured in yesterday’s report – is here.

UPDATE: Power outage for 4,500+ West Seattle customers; some restored after hour and a half, others after 4 hours

6:49 AM: Thanks for the tips. 4,500+ customers are out of power in West Seattle. More info to come …

6:55 AM: Here’s a screengrab of the Seattle City Light map showing who’s out. No word yet on the cause – let ud know if you see SCL crews near you. (Jay texted to say “wires were popping and flashing down in Delridge again,” so that may be a clue. Avalon Way residents report hearing what sounded like “transformers blowing,” too.)

7:06 AM: Multiple commenters in and near North Delridge also report “three booms” preceding the outage. The footprint is slightly different from previous outages traced to a similar cause.

7:16 AM: Zooming in on the map, it appears to be skipping the schools that are in/near the affected areas, but please let us know if you hear anything from school leadership.

7:26 AM: Readers note that the 35th/Fauntleroy and 35th/Avalon signals are out. Remember – if a signal’s out, that intersection becomes an all-way stop. … Texter reports Avalon/Genesee and Genesee/Delridge signals also are out.

8:10 AM: Some are back on – the map shows the outage down to 2,580+ customers. … A commenter mentions that Tilden School on the north edge of The Junction (WSB sponsor) is affected and planning a late start as a result.

8:25 AM: Here’s the updated outage map with the remaining 2,580+ customers who are still out:

8:42 AM: Allison noted low water pressure in the Admiral area. She reports SPU (always report water trouble to 206-386-1800) told her a pump station is affected by the outage, and that’s caused the pressure problem.

9:18 AM: City Light says on Twitter/X, “Crews are still working to determine the cause of the outage to make necessary repairs.”

10:39 AM: A few hundred more customers are back on, as commenters note. Map says it’s now 2,329 customers (each home/business/etc. equals a customer, regardless of how many people are served there).

10:59 AM: Thanks again for the updates. SCL map now shows everybody else back on. (If you’re not – be sure they know – 206-684-3000.) … Per SCL on Twitter/X, “The cause was determined to be a tree branch that fell on a line along California Avenue.”

UPDATE: Gas leak at 42nd/Genesee

September 26, 2023 3:05 pm
|    Comments Off on UPDATE: Gas leak at 42nd/Genesee
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

3:05 PM Police are closing 42nd SW between Genesee and Oregon because of a gas leak at the 42nd/Genesee apartment-construction site. A 4-inch line was “barely nicked,” firefighters have told dispatch. Avoid the area for a while.

3:09 PM: Thanks to John for the photo. So far firefighters have not reported detecting any major levels of leaked gas.

3:45 PM: Firefighters have just told dispatch that Puget Sound Energy “has secured the leak,” so the emergency response is winding down.

OUTAGE ALERT: One night without water for 650 customers in Morgan Junction, Gatewood, Fauntleroy

September 26, 2023 10:42 am
|    Comments Off on OUTAGE ALERT: One night without water for 650 customers in Morgan Junction, Gatewood, Fauntleroy
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news

650 homes/businesses in the mapped area of Morgan Junction, Gatewood, and Fauntleroy will be without water 9 pm Thursday, October 5th, to 4 am Friday, October 6th. Seattle Public Utilities just sent us the notice that will be circulated to affected homes/businesses:


Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will be working on an upgrade of the drinking water system. SPU crews will install three new valves on a water main along California Ave SW.

This work will require a temporary water shutdown for about 650 customers in the area.

The shutdown will start at 9 pm on Thursday, October 5 and last until 4 am on Friday, October 6.

If you think you’ll need to use water during this overnight water shutdown, here are some ways you can prepare for the water outage:

Before the water outage:
• Fill pots on the stove with water for cooking.
• Fill a couple of buckets with water for washing.
• Fill potable water containers for drinking.
• Fill bathtubs with water and use buckets to flush toilets. A toilet will flush when approximately a gallon of water is dumped into the bowl.

During the water outage:
Try not to operate the water faucets. This will prevent air from entering your plumbing.

Discolored Water After an Outage
Water outages can sometimes disturb the direction or flow of water in the City’s drinking water system. When this happens, customers in or near the outage area may experience temporary discolored water.
Discolored water comes from internal pipe rust and sediment getting stirred up when the water is turned on after an outage. The water should clear on its own. If the water remains discolored, please contact SPU’s Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800.

We’re asking some followup questions, such as where the work will be happening that night. Meantime, you can get a closer look at the map of the affected area by going to the SPU Water Outage map page, clicking on “planned,” and clicking on the 7111 California listing.

FOLLOWUP: Here’s how Seattle Parks says it’s responding to ‘use less water’ call

(File photo – West Seattle aerial view by Long Bach Nguyen)

With so much parkland in West Seattle, we thought you’d be interested in how Seattle Parks says it’s responding to the “use less water” request announced this morning:

The majority of Seattle Parks and Recreation’s water use is on irrigation (only 6% of our water use goes to pools), and thus that is where we focus our conservation efforts.

Water conservation efforts we employ year-round:

-Remotely controlled irrigation systems are adjusted depending on weather and can immediately detect leaks.
-Regular irrigation system checks by staff and expedited repairs when breaks are reported.
-New parks and facilities are built with the latest water conservation technology.
-During this Water Shortage Voluntary Reduction, Seattle Parks and Recreation will:

-Reduce irrigation for non-high use lawns and most garden beds.
-Reduce irrigation within golf courses.
-Wash vehicles for health and safety reasons only (including golf carts)
-Turn off decorative fountains.

We must be prudent in deciding how to conserve water during this time as more significant water conservation efforts would likely cause harm to our living assets, reduce public access to parks and amenities, and cost millions to repair. For these reasons, the following water use at park spaces will continue during the voluntary stage of Seattle’s water shortage:

-Power-washing restrooms to ensure sanitary access to park restrooms.
-Irrigating golf greens, specialty gardens, and newly established landscapes
-Supporting our urban forests to preserve their climate change fighting abilities.
=Irrigate actively used and destination park lawns, athletic fields, and food-growing gardens in parks.

If you do spot a leak in a park or recreation facility, please submit a Find It, Fix It request so we can repair it right away.

You can also call the Parks maintenance hotline, 206-684-7250.

City asking you to use less water. Here’s why

(SPU photo)

That’s the Cedar River Watershed, part of where Seattle’s water supply originates. This morning, the city is asking you to use less of that water. Here’s the announcement we just received from Seattle Public Utilities:

After an unusually dry summer and an extended forecast that calls for continued dry conditions, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) today asked its customers to voluntarily use less water. SPU activated its Water Shortage Contingency Plan and is in the voluntary reduction stage, a necessary action to stretch the water supply until fall rains return.

Seattle is working to manage water supplies for people and fish during this extended dry period. SPU asked its 1.5 million customers, which includes people in King County who receive Seattle Water through the Utility’s wholesale customers, to voluntarily reduce their water use until further notice.

“SPU staff has been thoughtfully preparing for dry conditions throughout the summer, working to ensure an adequate water supply for the needs of residents and fish throughout our region. With these dry conditions sticking around, we must all do our part,” said Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell. “That’s why, at the recommendation of SPU, I’m activating the voluntary stage of the plan and asking residents to cut back on water use until significant rains return in the fall.”

Ways people can reduce their water use:

• Stop watering lawns (It’s OK to efficiently water newly planted lawns, young plants and trees, and vegetable gardens).

• Take shorter or fewer showers.

• Check for and fix leaks now, especially running toilets.

Find more water-saving tips at www.savingwater.org .

“Our customers are great stewards of our environment and already use water wisely every day, and we believe they will take our request to heart,” said Andrew Lee, General Manager of Seattle Public Utilities. “This will be a temporary ask until the fall rains return.”

City of Seattle departments are making immediate operational changes to reduce their water use and stretch the water supply as far as possible.

People who want to stay informed on how well SPU commercial, residential, and wholesale customers are reducing their water use can visit SPU’s At Your Service blog.

SPU manages two large, regional watersheds that supply its 1.5 million customers with some of the cleanest water in the nation. Investing in water conservation programs over several decades has helped stretch water supplies much further than originally anticipated. For example, over the last 40 years, the regional water system has grown from serving 1 to 1.5 million customers, but overall water use has decreased by 30%. Despite this population growth, customers use onlyas much water overall as used in the 1950s.

“While not highly visible work, SPU has done a remarkable job year after year of managing our most precious resource, including watershed protection and careful daily and long-term water resource planning,” said Noel Miller, Chair of the SPU Customer Review Panel. “While our area is typically blessed with sufficient precipitation, SPU’s steadfast commitment to our water supply for people and fish is the reason its customers rarely are asked to reduce water use, even during drier and hotter years.”

For details related to this announcement, including water-saving tips in multiple languages, a map highlighting SPU residential, commercial and wholesale customers, and weekly updates on how much water customers are saving, go here.

UPDATE: Power outage in southwest West Seattle blamed on branch

9:09 AM: Thanks for the tip! 23 homes in southwesternmost West Seattle have been without power since just before 6:30 this morning. No cause listed yet; we’re checking with Seattle City Light; a screengrab of SCL’s outage map shows the outage location.

3:36 PM: The outage has ended since we last checked the map earlier this afternoon. Here’s what SCL’s Jenn Strang tells us about the cause: “Crews found a blown fuse caused by a tree branch contacting wires near 47th Ave SW and Maplewood Place SW. Additional vegetation management and overhead line crews needed to be called in to clear multiple spots of branches growing into the lines in this area before reenergization.”

FOLLOWUP: Repairs planned tonight for longrunning water leak in Junction street

(WSB photo, this morning)

11:54 AM: Earlier this week, we wrote about the longrunning leak that’s left the street chronically wet at California/Edmunds, and Seattle Public Utilities‘ response suggesting our inquiry was the first they’d heard of it. Multiple readers, however, said they’d reported it to the city weeks and months ago. While we awaited a response to our followup inquiry, another commenter pointed out that no-parking signs were placed nearby for work tonight – and today, SPU’s Sabrina Register confirms that:

Thank you for bringing this leak to our attention, and to the customers who reported it to our Operations Response Center (ORC: 206-386-1800), the best route to report flooding and ponding issues and sewer backups. Our crews respond to roughly 800-1,000 potential water leaks alone in any given year, so we appreciate customers helping us find leaks across the City.

The ORC did receive reports of this leak, and we apologize to those customers who felt like their reports were ignored. With the exception of significant, emergency repairs, we perform the work in a more planned and coordinated manner, which can take some time to get the required permits and approvals.

The leak is scheduled to be repaired this evening (September 14), pending coordination with affected businesses in the vicinity. On these types of planned repairs, we work with local businesses in advance because their water service is often shut off for a temporary, multi-hour period, and we can sometimes get the work done in the off-hours or middle of the night to limit those impacts.

So if you see SPU crews at work there tonight, that’s what’s going on. (So far, the SPU water map – which has a list of emergency and scheduled outages – does not include this work.)

ADDED THURSDAY EVENING: While we were in The Junction for the West Seattle Art Walk, we noted the work had begun:

The northbound lanes were blocked but two-way traffic was continuing via a temporary repurposing of a southbound lane.

About that chronic water on the street in The Junction

(WSB photo, September 7th)

You might not notice it today, now that it’s raining, but we’ve long been wondering about that chronically wet spot on California SW at SW Edmunds, as have some readers. After no signs of change, we sent an inquiry to SDOT and Seattle Public Utilities last week, and today SPU spokesperson Sabrina Register replied, “We have (or will be soon) sending a crew to investigate. It appears to be a water issue (not drainage/wastewater issue).” So if you see a city crew at that intersection, that’s what they’re looking into. And if you have any knowledge of an earlier report to the city and/or investigation, please let us know. It seemed like if this went on much longer, we’d be running into the season where the wet spot would become an ice patch.

UPDATE: ‘Major natural-gas leak’ response at paving-project site on SW Genesee

1:12 PM: This morning we mentioned paving work on SW Genesee between 26th and 30th SW. Now there’s a gas leak in the area and the street will be closed until it’s handled – SFD and SPD are headed that way.

1:15 PM: Firefighters have told dispatch it’s a “4-inch main behind a piece of heavy equipment.” They’re having residents in the immediate vicinity “shelter in place” with windows closed. They say the wind “appears to be blowing away” from the residences and are awaiting Puget Sound Energy (which provides gas service in our area).

2:10 PM: SFD reports that PSE has a “temporary shutdown” on the line but is still working to secure it further.

2:18 PM: SFD is affirming that the nearby residents are now safe and they’re reducing their response.

2:38 PM: All SFD units have now cleared. We haven’t heard whether traffic is resuming through the area, though – even before this, it was down to single-lane-with-flagger because of the paving work.

WEST SEATTLE CRIME WATCH: Junction EV-charging station hit by vandalism/theft again

That’s the stub where a cord should be connected to the base of one of the city-owned EV-charging stations on 39th SW in The Junction. We went over after tips this morning and saw the cords missing on both of the chargers. We subsequently asked Seattle City Light spokesperson Jenn Strang about the plan for repair; she indicated the situation was news to them, but said somebody would be dispatched to investigate. The chargers were installed three years ago, and we’ve covered multiple vandalism/theft incidents before.

UPDATE: Gas-leak response on Delridge Way

September 6, 2023 9:57 am
|    Comments Off on UPDATE: Gas-leak response on Delridge Way
 |   Utilities | West Seattle news | West Seattle traffic alerts

9:57 AM: Thanks for the tip. Seattle Fire has responded to a natural-gas leak in the 5200 block of Delridge Way SW, and that has the southbound side of the street closed between Brandon and Puget. Updates to come.

10 AM: According to SFD radio communication, this happened because of a sewer-line repair.

10:06 AM: SFD describes this as a “minor leak,” because of a “nicked” line. They’ve been checking the air in neighboring houses for safety’s sake.

10:38 AM: SFD reports that Puget Sound Energy has “secured the leak,” so its units will be leaving, which means the road should be reopening.

UPDATE: Power outage in West Seattle, after pole fire on Avalon

4:38 PM: Almost 3,300 customers are out of power as of moments ago in north West Seattle. We’re working to find out if this is related to police blocking off Avalon Way between Charlestown and Yancy, where SFD has an hour-old “wires down” call.

4:55 PM: We’re getting reports of restoration, at least for some. (added) The map shows it’s down to 483 homes/businesses.

5:07 PM: Those still out are close to the original “wires down” call on Avalon, where the southbound direction is about to reopen, while northbound remains closed. (added) SFD tells us at the scene that the “wires down” were the result of a pole fire; SCL is bringing in a new pole, so the northbound side of Avalon will likely remain closed at least a few hours.

(Reader photo – pole delivery)

8:03 PM: We went through the work zone (since uphill on Avalon, aka southbound, remains open), and the crews are still working with the new and replacement poles. Also note that the continuing outage has lights dark at the Avalon/Spokane/Harbor intersection, which means it’s an all-way stop.

(Reader photo from Melissa)

8:28 PM: Other lights on Avalon are affected too – commenter KD says 35th/Avalon is still out.

11:07 PM: Not restored yet.

1:30 AM: Still out, and public-safety personnel just told dispatch that the SCL crew told them it might take another two hours.

5:30 AM: Commenters report power was restored just after 2:30.

ADDED 1 PM TUESDAY: As promised, we asked SCL about the cause. The reply from spokesperson Jenn Strang: “The cause was the center wire came loose from its head pin. When it came down, it contacted the cross arm and started the fire. We received a report of a smoking wire from Seattle Fire and were responding prior to the outage occurring. Our operations staff was able to quickly reduce the outage down to the smaller number affected. The crew deemed it necessary to replace the entire pole.”

Brown water in Fauntleroy

We continue keeping track of brown-water instances when we get reader reports about them – otherwise there’s no public way to track them via the Seattle Public Utilities website. Today we’ve heard from one reader who is seeing it near Fauntleroy/Trenton, which is by the south end of Lincoln Park. In many cases, it’s because of SFD hydrant testing stirring up “sediment” (rust) in the lines, but nonetheless, any time it happens at your residence or business, please report it to SPU – 206-386-1800.

Brief, widespread West Seattle power interruption

No, it wasn’t just you. That was a fairly widespread, but brief, power interruption about 15 minutes ago. We’ve heard from people all around the peninsula who experienced it too – from Admiral in the north to at least as far south as here in Upper Fauntleroy – but we haven’t heard from anyone who lost power for more than a moment, and the Seattle City Light map shows only two 1-customer spots in North Delridge (an area where some also heard a possible transformer/fuse boom).