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Callers to SPU’s Emergency Services Line Receive Interpretation in 14 Languages

Winter storms can cause flooding, drainage or sewer backups, or significant ponding on streets. Seattle Public Utilities’ Operations Response Center, at 206-386-1800, is the place customers should call when they experience these conditions.  However, until recently, callers to the emergency line needed to speak English.

Seattle is an increasingly diverse city and for many of its residents English is not their first language.  In fact it is home to the country’s most diverse zip code — 98118 — where at least 59 languages are spoken.

In order to become more accessible to all of its customers, Seattle Public Utilities’ Operations Response Center now provides interpretation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Residents calling 206-386-1800 can receive assistance in the top 14 languages, after English, spoken in Seattle.  These are: Spanish, Vietnamese, Cantonese, Mandarin, Somali, Tagalog, Korean, Cambodian, Amharic, Oromo, Tigrinya, Laotian, Thai, and Russian.