WA - Factoria reservoir overflows: Malfunction sends flood toward office buildings

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2001-04-28 by Jeff Switzer Journal Reporter

BELLEVUE -- At least 50,000 gallons of drinking water were lost yesterday morning when a reservoir in Factoria overflowed.

The water pushed a torrent of mud toward two office buildings -- one housing the headquarters of VoiceStream -- on Southeast 38th Street and Factoria Boulevard.

Chlorinated drinking water also ended up in Richards Creek.

Two separate alarms -- designed to signal an overflow -- failed to sound at the Coal Creek Utility District headquarters, General Manager Tom Peadon said.

``Unfortunately, malfunctions happen,'' Peadon said.

The 3-million-gallon reservoir was automatically refilling with fresh drinking water when sensors failed, utility district Assistant Manager Larry Jones said.

A sensor failed to detect when the reservoir was full, and the water pumps continued to churn. A second sensor failed to sound an alarm when the reservoir was overflowing, Jones said.

Nor were reservoir levels accurately recorded electronically at the district headquarters.

``It was a double failure, which is very, very unusual,'' Jones said. ``The alarms were checked just one month ago and were functioning.''


-- Doris (nocents@bellsouth.net), May 01, 2001

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