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King County Executive
Dow Constantine

Record flows on Tolt River near Carnation, possible severe damage to two levees


Record water flows on rivers across the region are causing significant flooding, including possible damage to two levees along the Tolt River near the City of Carnation. Flood waters are also causing significant road damage across King County.


Tolt River near Carnation Record water flows on rivers across the region are causing significant flooding, including possible damage to two levees along the Tolt River near the City of Carnation. Flood waters are also causing significant road damage across King County.

County engineers are assessing the levee damage, which is affecting dikes on both sides of the Tolt River, including the north side which is next to the City of Carnation. Preparations are under way to begin emergency repairs immediately.

King County Executive Ron Sims, being briefed on flood response operations while touring flood-damaged areas and meeting residents using a regional shelter, expressed concern for those dealing with flood disruptions and difficult conditions.

"We started preparing for this flooding when we saw record snowfall last month and have been working 24/7 for the last few days as the impacts we anticipated have materialized and caused serious impacts for residents and communities across our region," said Executive Sims. "Conditions are finally allowing us to get up close and see just how bad the damage is in some areas. I know a lot of people have suffered because of this flooding and others have been inconvenienced by being cut off from their homes or neighborhoods. We will continue working through weekend to get things stabilized. My thanks go out to all the King County staff, regional first responders and volunteers who have worked, sometimes heroically, to help their fellow residents, fix problems or make conditions more bearable."

The King County Flood Warning Center reports that the Snoqualmie River crested at Duvall Thursday night at 6:15 p.m. at 45.18 feet. As of 10:30 a.m. this morning, the river has dropped nearly three feet to 42.21 feet.
Flood waters are receding on the main stem of the Snoqualmie River, increasing hopes that residents will soon have free access in and out.

Road impacts
State Route 202 remains closed. State Route 203 is now partially open from Fall City to Carnation. However, more than 40 roads remain closed in unincorporated areas of King County. Given the widespread flooding and likely damage, it may be several days before some roads can safely reopen.;County road crews are;already mobilizing to clean up debris, inspect bridges and make temporary emergency repairs as soon as the water recedes.

King County's wastewater treatment system has kept pace with high volumes that were created by recent heavy rainfall. The system's two regional treatment plants, near Renton and Magnolia, are operating at full capacity and are functioning properly. Local treatment plants on Vashon Island and in the City of Carnation are also operating normally, and other wastewater facilities have been working well during the high flows.

A sinkhole formed underneath a buried sewer pipe that runs through the Fairwood Golf course near Renton, and emergency crews were able to stabilize the pipe. No sewage was spilled as a result of the sinkhole, which appears to have been caused by a broken stormwater pipe.

Transit impacts
The situation for transit is improving Friday, but still almost a dozen Metro Transit bus routes are disrupted by flooding and;closed roads;in Duvall, Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, North Bend, Issaquah, Maple Valley, and Kent. People planning on traveling to those communities by bus should check Metro Online for specific route information, or call 206-553-3000. When visiting the Web site, please remember to refresh your browser on each visit for the most currently available information.

Public Health and Safety
Safety is a primary concerns during flooding. Electric and natural gas customers with flood damage should follow certain safety tips if home utility equipment or appliances are submerged in water. Similarly, floods can damage septic systems, make well water undrinkable, and contaminate food.

Drinking water wells
If you suspect that your well has been flooded, do not drink the water until the well has been tested and decontaminated. Wells that are flooded can be contaminated by germs that cause serious illness such as giardiasis, gastroenteritis, and hepatitis. If your well is possibly contaminated, drink bottled water or boil your water for at least one minute before drinking.;

Drinking water can also be disinfected with a few drops of household bleach. Use 10 drops per gallon of water or one teaspoon for 10 gallons. Do not use scented or "color-safe" bleaches. Let the treated water stand 30 minutes before use.

Septic systems
Septic tank systems that have been flooded should not be used. After waters have receded, check the system for broken lines or sewage surfacing. Correct any problems before using the system. If you have questions about septic systems, contact Public Health - Seattle & King County at 206-296-4932.

Businesses and homes often have chemical products like;cleaners, solvents, fuels and pesticides that are;harmful;to;humans, animals and the environment.; Store these products above flood height and in spill proof containers. Some of these materials;can burn, kill, poison or react violently with water or air;if;not stored safely.; If you have questions, contact the Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692 or

Power/natural gas
PublicHeath officials urge residents to use caution before using any electric appliance in a house that has been flooded. Never;turn on wet electric appliances because they may cause an electric shock, overheat, or start a fire.

Puget Sound Energy encourages customers to notify the utility if flooding causes water levels to cover natural gas meters. The utility needs to check the meter and regulator before any natural gas appliances inside the home or business are used. Residents with questions can call 1-888-225-5773 or visit

Food items that come in contact with;floodwater are considered contaminated and should be discarded. Canned food should be cleaned with detergent and water, then disinfected in a weak bleach solution before opening. If you lose power briefly, perishable food items may be safe to keep or refreeze if they're cold to the touch and have been maintained at a temperature below 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

Detailed information on flood and health related topics may be found in English and other languages at


Related information

More photos from the floods (External link, Flickr)

King County Executive
Dow Constantine
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