Water flow restored to Port Angeles homes while repairs mulled

PORT ANGELES — Running, potable water was restored to seven households Thursday morning while city officials prepared to replace a malfunctioning stormwater pipe and repair a blown potable-water main at Peabody Creek Ravine, Craig Fulton, Public Works and Utilities director, said late Thursday afternoon.

The project at Ninth and Race streets could cost more than the $55,000 expenditure authorized in an emergency declaration signed Wednesday by City Manager Dan McKeen, he said.

Valves have been installed to stanch the flow in the 14-inch cast-iron water main, Fulton said.

Plastic piping also has been ordered. It likely will be installed beginning next week to replace 24-inch concrete stormwater piping that had separated at connections below the main on the ravine’s slope, Fulton said.

The break was discovered at 9 p.m. Tuesday after fluctuations were discovered in the city’s water-flow data.

The city provided drinking water to residents affected by the interruption until water flow was restored Thursday to the homes.

Both water lines were installed in the 1950s — the water main in 1959 — above Peabody Creek, which runs into the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The stormwater line carries rainwater and groundwater, Fulton said.

The city’s stormwater lines “run continuously,” fed by groundwater that seeps into the lines, he added.

The water main, buried about 20 feet, ruptured Tuesday night.

“The water from the water-main break washed soils off the top of the stormwater line and probably made the slope unstable,” Fulton said.

“The concrete pipes had no foundation to sit on.”

McKeen authorized the $55,000 contract with Interwest Construction of Burlington.

Fulton said workers will focus first on the stormwater line, which is more damaged than the water main.

Residents will see repair activity at the top of the ravine early next week, he said.

The stormwater line needs to be fixed to make the slope stable enough to work on the water main, he said.

“We’ll repair the stormwater line to dry up the slope,” Fulton said.

“We’ve got to stop that water from cascading over the slope of the ravine so the water main can be repaired safely.”

The City Council will review the emergency expenditure at its next meeting Jan. 17.

Contracts over $25,000 require City Council approval.

The full extent of damage to the water main has not been determined, he added.

“We’re trying to keep it at $55,000 or below,” Fulton said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

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