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SPU’s Statement on Today’s Flooding in South Park  

During a King Tide this morning, the tidally influenced Duwamish River overtopped its banks and flooded numerous homes and businesses in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood. Seattle Public Utilities crews and staff are in South Park to respond to the event and support impacted residents. At this time, the City is assessing needs including providing emergency housing to those affected. 

South Park does experience flooding and sewer backups. During king tides, the river may overtop its banks, which prevents the South Park drainage system from draining into the river. Heavy rains worsen drainage issues and can also cause combined sewer capacity challenges (sewer backups).  

South Park is a frontline community for climate change impacts. Today’s flooding was caused by the Duwamish River overtopping its banks. Unfortunately, this is expected to happen more frequently as part of sea level rise—as are increased heavy rains. As a City, we are working to prioritize the needs of frontline communities as we adapt to new extremes in the water cycle. 

Seattle Public Utilities is investing in South Park. This year, to help address immediate challenges, we installed sewer protection equipment in seven homes that experienced sewer backups last year and hired a community-based non-profit to help provide urgent on-the-ground support. 

Our flooding related investments include constructing South Park Pump Station (8th Ave S and S Riverside). When the pump station is complete next year, it will begin sending stormwater from parts of South Park into the Duwamish during many high tide events. Other SPU drainage related projects in South Park include green stormwater infrastructure at Cloverdale and 5th, and the South Park Drainage and Roadway Partnership with SDOT (between 2nd Ave S and 8th Ave S, and S Holden St and S Monroe St) which will also be completed in 2023. 

Being prepared for emergencies is important. If you experience flooding, please make sure people and pets are safe. If it is a life-threatening emergency, please call 911. For urgent, but not life-threatening flooding, please call SPU’s 24/7 Operations Response Center at (206) 386-1800.