News Blog for Seattle's Maple Leaf Neighborhood

 

Update on The Exploding Toilets of Maple Leaf

August 20th, 2013 by Mike

Update Aug. 21: KOMO-TV did a story today on this disquieting issue.

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We’ve an answer back from Andy Ryan of Seattle Public Utilities (he was out of the office late last week) about “exploding toilets” here Thursday as maintenance was being done by the utility.

Thanks to the folks who provided 15 illuminating comments on the original story.

For those wanting more background on Annie’s and David’s comments on a Seattle woman who died in a flooded basement, our news partner The Seattle Times has more here and here. (If this is the correct incident, the victim was a 41-year-old women in Madison Valley in 2006.)

Here’s the reply from the utility:

We have been in contact with two customers who were affected by maintenance operations last week in the Maple Leaf neighborhood.

As you may know, we clean sewer mainlines with high-pressure jet nozzles, and on rare occasions this causes high pressure air or water spray to enter side sewers. If a customer’s vent stack is plugged, the air or water pressure can burble up in the toilet. This is a good reason for keeping your toilet lid down, which will prevent the “toilet burp” from spraying into the bathroom. We think this is probably what occurred in the Maple Leaf neighborhood last week.

Following up, we put one of the customers in contact with our claims inspector because dirty water sprayed on her bathroom floor. In the case of the other customer, it was clean water on the bathroom floor—which she mopped up with a T-shirt.

In the unlikely event that something like this happens to one of your readers, they should call SPU operations, at 206-386-1800.

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Two reports of exploding toilet bowls in the neighborhood – what's that about?

August 16th, 2013 by Mike

Just now we received the second report of what, for lack of a better headline term, we’ll call exploding toilets.

We live just off Roosevelt Way Northeast on Northeast 94th Street and noticed when we returned from going out to dinner last night that both toilets (one upstairs and one downstairs) had, for lack of a better term, blasted the toilet bowl water out and onto the floor. We’ve no idea what could have caused this apart from a serious back pressure source somewhere in the city system. Anyone else reported such an event?

Yes. On Thursday we received this report:

Please let the other Maple Leaf neighbors know what happened to us when the Seattle Public Utilities vacuum truck was on our street this morning (Northeast 92nd Street).

They blasted air into the sewers with such force that water shot up from the toilets and shower drains, on every floor from the basement to the second floor.

Fortunately, all our toilet lids were in the closed position. We still had puddles around the toilets, but it would have been much worse if the lids had been up. So, if you see water on your toilet seat or lid, or around the toilet, you may want to get out a disinfectant because it’s likely that it’s sewer water courtesy of a blast from the same truck.

We have an email into Seattle Public Utilities, but probably won’t hear back until Monday. Both incidents occurred on Thursday, Aug. 16.

Does this sound familiar to other neighbors?

We are vaguely aware that “snorkel trucks” are used to clear leaves and other debris from storm drains. We can also remember an incident a couple decades ago when the toilets in the downtown King County Courthouse suddenly behaved in exactly this fashion. (Further, we think it was somehow construction related.)

→ 15 CommentsTags: , , ,

Two reports of exploding toilet bowls in the neighborhood – what’s that about?

August 16th, 2013 by Mike

Just now we received the second report of what, for lack of a better headline term, we’ll call exploding toilets.

We live just off Roosevelt Way Northeast on Northeast 94th Street and noticed when we returned from going out to dinner last night that both toilets (one upstairs and one downstairs) had, for lack of a better term, blasted the toilet bowl water out and onto the floor. We’ve no idea what could have caused this apart from a serious back pressure source somewhere in the city system. Anyone else reported such an event?

Yes. On Thursday we received this report:

Please let the other Maple Leaf neighbors know what happened to us when the Seattle Public Utilities vacuum truck was on our street this morning (Northeast 92nd Street).

They blasted air into the sewers with such force that water shot up from the toilets and shower drains, on every floor from the basement to the second floor.

Fortunately, all our toilet lids were in the closed position. We still had puddles around the toilets, but it would have been much worse if the lids had been up. So, if you see water on your toilet seat or lid, or around the toilet, you may want to get out a disinfectant because it’s likely that it’s sewer water courtesy of a blast from the same truck.

We have an email into Seattle Public Utilities, but probably won’t hear back until Monday. Both incidents occurred on Thursday, Aug. 16.

Does this sound familiar to other neighbors?

We are vaguely aware that “snorkel trucks” are used to clear leaves and other debris from storm drains. We can also remember an incident a couple decades ago when the toilets in the downtown King County Courthouse suddenly behaved in exactly this fashion. (Further, we think it was somehow construction related.)

→ 15 CommentsTags: , , ,