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April 2020
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CityLink Seattle

A Message to Seattle Public Utilities Customers on Our Response to COVID-19

The City of Seattle and Seattle Public Utilities are working closely with our partners at Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC), Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to protect our customers and employees from COVID-19 and combat the spread of the novel coronavirus. In compliance with Governor Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order, SPU administrative and support staff are now teleworking. SPU essential staff continue to work around the clock at public facilities and job sites, providing our customers with the services they need.

We Are Focused on Essential Services

The COVID-19 crisis and the threats it poses to public health and economic security are largely unprecedented. We know, however, that slowing the transmission and mitigating the harms of infectious disease is only possible with adequate sanitation and safe, clean water. In our fight against COVID-19, local utility services matter more than ever. At SPU, we are responding to the COVID-19 crisis by focusing our time and energy on the delivery of our most essential services. These include:

  • Safe and reliable water service
  • Wastewater collection, transmission, and treatment
  • Solid waste collection and transfer station operations
  • Drainage management
  • Watershed protection, dam and reservoir safety, landslide monitoring, and emergency response
  • Maintenance and repair of essential equipment
  • Customer service and support
  • Sanitation and hygiene services for unsheltered residents
  • Graffiti abatement on public facilities and in the public right of way.

SPU’s Graffiti Rangers remain in service. This service may not seem essential, or not essential in the same way our other services are, but the City of Seattle takes expressions of hate very seriously. Racist, sexist, and other forms of hate-graffiti will be removed as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.

To report graffiti on public property, please use the Online Report Form or call the Graffiti Report Line at (206) 684-7587.

We Are Keeping Seattle Safe

At the direction of Mayor Durkan, SPU has taken necessary steps to increase social distance and prevent community transmission of the novel coronavirus. Unfortunately, this has required us to temporarily restrict the hours and operations of our transfer stations and temporarily close some public facilities and recreation sites.

Please note that these decisions were based on guidance from our public health partners. We did not make these changes lightly, but rather because we take the safety of our customers and employees so seriously.

Temporary Service Restrictions and Closures

Until further notice, our North and South Transfer Stations are closed between Sunday through Tuesday each week. They are open Wednesday through Saturday each week, but only for essential trips – urgent and perishable waste only – to reduce potential spread of COVID-19.  

If you must visit a transfer station, please follow these guidelines:

  • DO NOT visit if you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, sore throat, or sore muscles. 
  • Bring only urgent and perishable waste; waste that will rot, cause odor, attract pests (food, diapers), or pose other risks to public health.
  • Other transfer stations around King County are working to meet the essential needs of their own customers during this crisis. At their request, and to protect their employees and the public, please do not visit other local transfer stations in the region.

Until further notice, the following areas are closed:

For up-to-date information about COVID-19 service restrictions and closures, follow us on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) or visit our website.

We Are Helping Those in Need

The COVID-19 crisis is causing serious economic hardship to residents and businesses across Seattle. We know how difficult and uncertain things are right now, and that some of customers are struggling with sudden and significant loss of income. The last thing our customers need to worry about right now is access to essential City Services.

That is why SPU and our partners at Seattle City Light have made our services easier to afford and easier to finance. The changes we have made include the following:

  • We have suspended all payment related utility shut offs for residential and commercial customers.
  • We have waived all late fees and interest charges for residential, small-business, and nonprofit customers.
  • We have fast-tracked enrollment in the Utility Discount Program and suspended income documentation requirements. The fast-track form is available online.
  • We have suspended down payment requirements for setting up payment plans and extended the amount of time available for customers catch up on their bills from 2 months to 4 months.

Visit the Seattle Public Utilities blog for more information.

How to Pay or Get Help with Your Bill

As always, customers can pay their bills online, or by phone or mail. SPU Contact Center representatives remain available Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Call (206) 684-3000 to speak to a representative about your bill or to make payment arrangements.

We understand that the closure of our walk-up customer service and payment counters is an additional hardship for customers without access to the services of a bank, who traditionally pay their bills with cash or money-order.  The payment drop boxes available at our customer service centers across Seattle remain open and available for our customers.

To better serve our customers who prefer to pay in cash, the City of Seattle has partnered with Wells Fargo to allow all our customers to purchase money orders, without additional charges or fees, of up to $1000 per person. This service is now available at every Wells Fargo branch in Western Washington. All money orders should be made payable to the City of Seattle and either deposited in one of our payment drop boxes or mailed to us.

Payment drop box information and locations can be found here.

Our mailing address is: City of Seattle, PO BOX 35177, Seattle, WA 98124-5177

We Thank You

We are public servants committed to your safety and security. Our mission is to deliver the essential services you need, and to do so reliably and with care. But we are also your neighbors, Seattle residents getting through this crisis as best we can.

It is important to remember that we are all in this together. Especially now, when we are all being called upon to make sacrifices for the sake of others, for neighbors and loved ones and strangers alike. We are all in this together and together we will get through it.

The City of Seattle keeps an updated list of resources for individuals and communities impacted by COVID-19. If you need help or know others who do, this list may have information that can help.

Thank you.

GM Mami Hara, Seattle Public Utilities