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Lambert issues statement on Tolt River Dam warning system failure during scheduled test

Summary

King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert issued a statement in response to the Tolt River Dam warning system failing to activate for its regularly scheduled test.

Story

In response to the Tolt River Dam warning system failing to activate for its regularly scheduled test, King County Councilmember Kathy Lambert issued the following statement:

“For the third time in the last several months, the warning system at the Tolt River Dam has failed.

“The Tolt Dam, owned and operated by the City of Seattle, is located 16 miles upstream from Carnation. In the event of a dam failure, area residents would only have minutes to evacuate before being inundated with over 30 feet of water.

“In July, the system erroneously warned residents of a dam failure and forced unnecessary evacuations and terrified residents.

“Seattle apologized and promised to fix the system.

“Since that time, the warning system has failed to activate during its routine weekly test on two separate occasions, including yesterday.

“Over 2,200 residents of Carnation and the surrounding unincorporated areas rely on the warning system to provide accurate and timely alerts in the event of a dam failure.

“This pattern of failures further erodes the public’s trust and confidence that City of Seattle is ready, willing, and able to respond to a real disaster.

“The City of Carnation bears a significant risk in order to ensure access to clean drinking water to over 1.5 million residents of the Seattle area.

“Apologies and empty promises are not adequate. In August, Seattle Public Utilities told Carnation residents ‘your safety and wellbeing are of the highest priority to us.’ It’s time they act like it.

“I am calling on Mayor Durkan and Seattle Public Utilities to immediately prioritize public safety by advancing sizeable investments to upgrade and improve the dam warning system and evacuation routes.”

Contact the Council
Main phone:
206-477-1000
TTY/TDD:
206-296-1024
Email:
council@kingcounty.gov