Infrastructure investment needed after Seattle king tide flooding

Several infrastructure projects are underway, but Seattle Utilities says they cannot ultimately prevent the Duwamish River from overflowing.

SEATTLE — Mayor Bruce Harrell and Seattle city officials said Wednesday that work is underway to help those affected by flooding in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood caused by Tuesday’s spring tide. But long-term efforts are also needed to mitigate future incidents.

While the city is working on several infrastructure projects that may reduce the duration and impact of flooding, Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) said federal projects were needed to prevent the Duwamish River from overflowing. said it is likely to be

A spring tide on Tuesday flooded the streets of South Park, flooding homes and businesses.

At least 10 families have been evacuated and temporarily staying in hotels to work on cleanup and damage assessment, according to the Duwamish River Community Coalition (DRCC), which gathers information about residents’ needs and helps them respond. It says. It is expected that donations of cleaning supplies, push brooms and household items damaged or destroyed during the floods will be required.

“People are just assessing the damage, and as the water recedes it’s being cleaned up,” says Christian Poulsen, director of policy analysis and communications at the DRCC. “They have to pull out lots of carpets, ruined furniture and belongings and take them to the dumpster, so they need a lot of help cleaning up.”

DRCC will continue to have locations near 8th Avenue South and South Kenyon Streets, as well as in nonprofit offices. People can donate here. In addition to immediate support, Poulsen wants a long-term investment.

“This makes clear that until cities’ flood teams, task forces and organizations build climate resilience into their infrastructure, they need to be prepared for these things,” Poulsen said.

According to Seattle Public Utilities, several investments are already underway, including efforts to widen pipes in the area, complete a drainage pumping station, and improve the quality of water flowing into the Duwamish River.

SPU Deputy Director Keri Burchard-Juarez said: “The infrastructure improvements that we are doing can’t ultimately prevent the river from overflowing. It should probably be a Corps of Engineers project that looks like a berm around the river to prevent overflowing.” .”

Burchard-Juarez said the city has a team behind the project, including coordination with locally elected officials to secure funding.

KING 5 reached out to the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday for input, but had not heard back by the time of publication.

Meanwhile, SPU has also installed grinder pumps in some homes, and says more are on the way.

“This keeps the sewer system from backing up into people’s homes,” says Burchard-Juarez. “My understanding is that those pumps worked and those houses had no sewage, but that has nothing to do with the fact that the river overflowed and flooded the houses with river water.”

Burchard-Juarez noted that this was an unprecedented event for the region, while Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said climate change would make severe flooding more common and lead to sea level rise mimicking the King Tides. said to have an impact.

“The most important thing right now is to look at the capital structure—the cost of capital you’re putting in,” Harrell said. [and have made investments for 2023], but that does nothing for these families who are hurting now. So we try to accommodate them to make sure their needs are met. It is a wake-up call to us and ensures that our investments reflect the urgency of the situation. ”

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