Shilshole Waterway Sewer Update

Since telling you about the sewage back-up that flooded Saint Alphonsus Preschool yesterday (see:http://wp.me/p5JLfD-3PM), several questions have come in regarding the broken sewer near Shilshole in southwest Ballard.

Here are three updates that have been provide regarding the sewage issue.  As additional updates com available, I will add to this post.


September 14, 2017: Seattle Public Utilities announced it was conducting emergency repair on a broken sewer pipe in Shilshole Bay. Click on public notice and map below to enlarge for details.

SPU - Shilshole     SPU - Shilshole letter

September 26, 2017: Update from Sr. Public Relations Specialist Katie McVicker from Seattle Public Utilities

“Dear neighbor,

On Sept. 13. 2017, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) discovered that a sewer force main that travels across the Shilshole Waterway west of the Ballard Locks had a leak. SPU set up a bypass system so no sewage would continue to enter the pipe or the waterway. SPU performed a dye test on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, and confirmed a location of a hole in the force main.

SPU engineers are designing a spot repair to fix the hole in the force main. The design phase could take up to three weeks. During this time, the bypass system will remain in place.

After the spot repair is complete, SPU will be able to send video equipment through the force main and perform a full condition assessment on the pipe. Depending on the results of the assessment, SPU may do further pipe repair or replacement work.

Please see the attached flyer for the location of the hole and the bypass equipment. If you have questions about this work, please reach out to the project manager, Cody Nelson, at (206) 684-3066 or cody.nelson@seattle.gov.

Katie McVicker
SPU Sr. Public Relations Specialist”


October 5, 2017: Update from Sr. Public Relations Specialist Katie McVicker from Seattle Public Utilities

“Dear neighbors,

A contractor for Seattle Public Utilities will be installing a hard-piped bypass system to replace the current pump and vactor truck system that is sited near 5700 Seaview Avenue NW. Once this system is installed, the baker tanks currently on site will be removed and the need for frequent vactor truck pumping and dumping should be eliminated.Work is expected to begin as early as Monday, Oct. 16, and may take up to two weeks to complete.

Homes and businesses will continue to receive normal sewer services during this work. You can also expect:

– Reduced parking due to staging of construction equipment.
– Traffic on Seaview Avenue NW to be reduced to one lane in both directions when the pipe is being trenched across the roadway. Flaggers will be onsite to direct traffic.
– Flaggers directing traffic in and out of affected gravel roadway as needed.
– Construction fencing and piping on sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail. Pedestrians and bicyclists will still be able to use the trail in all areas, but should exercise caution around equipment.
– Construction-related noise, dust and equipment.Please see the attached PDF for more information. If you have questions regarding this work, please contact Project Manager Cody Nelson at (206) 684-3066 or cody.nelson@seattle.gov.

Katie McVicker
Seattle Public Utilities
Sr. Public Relations Specialist”


October 24, 2017: Update from Sr. Public Relations Specialist Katie McVicker from Seattle Public Utilities

“Dear neighbors,
A contractor for Seattle Public Utilities will be installing a hard-piped bypass system to replace the current pump and vactor truck system that is sited near 5700 Seaview Avenue NW. Once this system is installed, the baker tanks currently on site will be removed and the need for frequent vactor truck pumping and dumping should be eliminated. Additionally, a diving crew may also begin in-water work to repair the hole in the force main.

Work is expected to begin as early as Thursday, Oct. 26, and may take up to two weeks to complete.

Homes and businesses will continue to receive normal sewer services during this work. You can also expect:

– Reduced parking due to staging of construction equipment within the gravel right-of-way adjacent to the Burke Gilman Trail. One driveway may be closed during the work, residents will have access from driveways to the north and south of the work area off Seaview Avenue NW.
– Traffic on Seaview Avenue NW to be reduced to one lane in both directions when the bypass pipe is being trenched across the roadway. Flaggers will be onsite to direct traffic.
– Flaggers directing traffic in and out of affected gravel roadway as needed.
– Construction fencing and piping on sections of the Burke-Gilman Trail. Pedestrians and bicyclists will be provided trail detours as needed. Pedestrians and bikers are reminded to slow down near construction sites and maintain awareness at all times.
– Reduced parking due to construction within the right-of-way of NW Market Street. Access to residences may be delayed but will be maintained.
– A large boat, silt curtain and divers in the water. Boat traffic will be blocked between portions of the Army Corps of Engineers’ dock and the shore. Individual owners will be contacted.
– Construction-related noise, dust and equipment.

Please see the attached PDF for more information. If you have questions regarding this work, please contact Project Manager Cody Nelson at (206) 684-3066 or cody.nelson@seattle.gov.

Katie McVicker
Seattle Public Utilities
Sr. Public Relations Specialist”

Ballard School Flooded By Sewage

Saint Alphonsus - Ballard - October 13 2017

Preschool flooded with sewage

Friday, October 13, 2017 will not easily be forgotten by the parents, students, and teachers at Saint Alphonsus Parish School in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood. Families arrived to find that one of their classroom spaces had been flooded overnight with Seattle’s slop.

Sludge oozed from beneath the preschool classroom door. A bay of windows running along the east-side of the space was foggy with condensation. An odor greeted those who moved closer to the classroom, confirming suspicion that something was not right.

From the Principal, Matt Eisenhauer:

“Overnight, the room had been flooded with back-up from the sewer system, that covered the floor, wall to wall, in the closets, restrooms, electrical closet and all. We contacted the city of Seattle, and they have three large trucks out on 58th street clearing out the sewage lines that run under the road.”

The classroom will be out of commission until the affected area is cleaned, repaired, inspected and approved for use. When school opens on Monday, students will report to the auditorium.

For those who use the NW 58th Street Greenway, please be aware of the additional traffic, big trucks, and workers on the roadway.

Saint Alphonsus Church & School are located at 5816 NW 15th Street in Ballard’s West Woodland neighborhood.  Learn more: http://stalseattle.org/school/