Busted Freeland water main cuts service to homes, businesses

Randle Chambers

A water main break in Freeland has shut down at least one business, impacted another and stopped water service to at least five homes, a Freeland Water and Sewer District official has confirmed.

According to district Manager Andy Campbell, the break occurred mid-day Saturday near East Shoreview Drive and South Woodard Avenue. He couldn’t say exactly when services would be restored but delays securing parts and a high tide that flooded the work area have likely pushed it back until at least Tuesday.

“We’re sitting here looking at our cones underwater,” Campbell said.

“All the work we did this morning has been washed away by this king tide,” he added.

The 10-inch water main is made of PVC and a section pulled apart from saturated and shifting soil. The repair necessitated shutting off the water to that part of the system, Campbell said.

The loss of water service shuttered Senior Services of Island County’s Community Thrift Store. Cheryn Weiser, senior services’ executive director, could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon but a worker said that the store legally needs water to open its doors for business. The store has been closed since Saturday.

Also impacted was Nichols Brothers Boat Builders. CEO Gavin Higgins confirmed that water was lost for about half the boatyard but that it didn’t shut down operations.

“We’re getting by, we’re running hoses from one side of the yard to the other,” Higgins said. “We are a shipyard, we get around this kinda stuff.”

Campbell said the district’s repair efforts began Saturday; workers began digging up the broken line but a fix was impossible due to a lack of parts on the island. Most water mains are six or eight inches, so 10-inch connectors couldn’t be found. He drove to Woodinville Monday to get the needed parts.

The effort was stalled again today, however, with an extremely high tide. Things were going OK, but water levels continued to rise and waves crashing over Shoreview flooded the work site, he said.

“There’s a lake down here,” he said.

Once the area drains, the work can be finished but it will take at least eight more hours for concrete to dry before the water can be turned back on, likely pushing a fix out to sometime Tuesday.

Though efforts are still ongoing and expenses have not been tallied, he estimated the broken line and repairs at around $5,000.