UPDATE: 6:35 A.M. | City of Seattle crews restored water service to University Villages hortly after 2 a.m. today. A 16-foot section of pipe was cut out and a new piece was put in its place. The city is working on what caused the break.
Heading to Unversity of Washington? Planning to swing by University Village?
Better plan for a long commute after a major water main break this afternoon sent a 12-foot geyser of water gushing underneath the Northeast 45th Street Viaduct, flooded a portion of the U-Village parking lot and sent utility crews scrambling.
Seattle Public Utilities spokesman Andy Ryan said a 16-inch water main running along Northeast 45th Street broke, leaving an unknown number of homes without water. It also prompted the closure of the viaduct for about two hours.
Twitter posts by people living in Bryant, Laurelhurst and Ravenna indicated they were without water for a time.
The main was shut off amid concern the rushing water may have damaged the viaduct’s support columns. But structural engineers with the Seattle Department of Transportation inspected the columns and determined there were no structural issues.
Northeast 45th Street, between Montlake Boulevard and 22nd Avenue Northeast, was reopened at about 5 p.m.
Seattle Fire Department spokesman Kyle Moore said there was also concern of water damage to the electrical, security and fire sprinkler systems at U-Village.
The water did not reach inside stores at U-Village, but brown water was sent swirling throughout the parking lot where dozens of cars were parked.
However, the flood waters kept shoppers away. Banana Republic estimates it lost about $2,000 in sales because of the flood.
The sudden drop in water pressure on the University of Washington campus caused fire alarms to go off automatically in some buildings, prompting some students to evacuate, said UW spokesman Bob Roseth. UW buildings were not being evacuated because of the flooding, he said.
Officials at University Village declined to comment, saying the flooding was on city property.
Seattle Public Utilities warns customers they may see brownish water coming from their taps. This is common when there is a sudden change in the flow of water in the pipeline.
Discolored water comes from internal pipe rust and sediment getting stirred up. When this happens the water is still safe. However, the water may be unappealing, so utilities recommends customers wait until it clears before drinking it.
The water should clear on its own. Try running the cold water for a few minutes to see if it is clearing or still discolored. If the water does not clear, let the water sit for an hour. Then run the water for a few minutes and flush the toilet a couple of times, utilities says.