Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Water woes

Cathlamet residents experience water pressure issues, broken pipes

Some residents in east Cathlamet woke up to water issues Sunday morning.

According to the Wahkiakum County Sheriff’s report, at 4:25 a.m., a resident on Irving Street was the first to call, reporting low water pressure and a massive leak from a neighbor’s house that was flooding their own carport.

Later, a person on E Street would report they were without water.

“Over the next couple hours several calls came in from nearby residents that either experienced problems or were concerned about potentially experiencing problems,” Cathlamet Mayor David Olson said. “This led from the initial site [on Irving Street] to the pressure station outside of Elochoman Millworks where the Public Works crew discovered a failure in a 3/8 inch copper flare line that goes to one of the valves in the station. This failure allowed the downstream pressure to raise significantly and led to the problems.”

The Town’s side of the system experienced only minor issues as, according to Olson, everything the Town installs is rated above 110 psi.

“Customer service lines and internal plumbing are not required to meet as high of psi thresholds,” the Mayor said.

That day, reports started trickling in on social media about broken water pipes, broken water heaters, and water pressure issues for several residents along Jacobson Road, at the RV park behind the Chevron, and across the highway from Fern Hill Road.

“As I understand it we do not yet have an exact count of customers affected as customer self- reporting is necessary to obtain a count,” Olson added.  “The problem is now fixed as far as I know, and we have reported the problem to the Town’s insurer.” 

David McNally, the Public Works Superintendent for the Town of Cathlamet concurred with Olson’s assessment.

“That pretty much sums it all up,” he said. “Yesterday we were able to throttle back the flow through the failed valve to control the flow through the night and today we just finished replacing the valve that failed.”

Olson encourages anyone who believes they received damage from the incident to come to Town Hall to pick up a tort claim form or find it on the town website.

“It’s basically an insurance claim form they can file,” Olson said. “They should. We want anybody who feels they have been damaged by this incident to come and pick up the claim form from Town Hall so it can be addressed in the insurance coverage process. We know there was damage and we want that fixed, but it has to go through the town insurance process.”

After submitting the claim, the insurance company will contact people directly, Olson said.

“It never hurts to take pictures and document what happened,” he added.


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