In event of catastrophe: Study recommends Volunteer Park reservoir remain ready to serve Capitol Hill and beyond

22 million gallons of Cedar River water is waiting atop Capitol Hill (Image: CHS)

A recent study recommends that Volunteer Park’s reservoir will remain exactly that — a reservoir. Even if it were to stay unconnected to the city’s drinking water system, as it is now, the water could prove crucial in the event of a major earthquake. There is a 15-20% likelihood that such an earthquake will hit Seattle within the next 50 years.

Back in 2013, the city began studying the reservoir, along with one in Roosevelt, to see if it was still needed. Federal safety guidelines about protecting the water supply mandate expensive upgrades (basically putting a lid on it) in order to continue using the reservoir as a source of drinking water. So the city considered decommissioning it instead. Continue reading

Even with Seattle water worries, Volunteer Park Reservoir still being considered for decommissioning

Someday, you may stroll along a sunset promenade — exactly as John Charles Olmsted intended way back in 1908 (Image: Volunteer Park Trust)

Someday, you may stroll along a sunset promenade — exactly as John Charles Olmsted intended way back in 1908 (Image: Volunteer Park Trust)

Even with Seattle in an advisory water warning phase following weeks of extraordinarily high temperatures, it looks like we’ll need to wait until 2017 to see what’s happening with the Volunteer Park Reservoir.

Back in 2013, the city began a study of the reservoir, with an eye to determining if it’s still needed, but the study is not yet complete.

Seattle Public Utilities is about to begin an 18-month seismic study of the reservoir, said SPU spokesman Andy Ryan.

The new facet of the study, which should be done in early 2017, will determine how well the 22-million gallon reservoir would hold up in an earthquake. That information — and how much it might cost to give it a seismic retrofit — will help inform the longer-term decision of whether or not it should continue to be part of the city’s water system.

Right now, the water in Volunteer Park is not considered usable for drinking water, Ryan said. Continue reading

Cal Anderson’s hatches to open for Lincoln Reservoir cleaning and maintenance

Lincoln Reservoir — now covered by Cal Anderson (Images: City of Seattle)

With happy times and green space above, below Cal Anderson Park lurks two 6.25 million-gallon vaults full of clear, cool, Seattle Public Utilities drinking water. Soon, portions of Capitol Hill’s central park will be fenced off for a month of maintenance in the subterranean Lincoln Reservoir.

According to SPU, the reservoir will be drained, inspected and then washed and its roof, hatches, vents and screens will be inspected. “Repairs to the system will also be made and debris will be removed from the reservoir’s perimeter and grounds as needed,” a notice from SPU to be posted at the work site reads. Continue reading