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South Park Flooding

What Happened

On December 27, 2022, the Duwamish River flooded a South Park neighborhood, damaging local homes and businesses. The flooding was caused by a combination of factors including higher-than-average tides, rain runoff, and melting snow. This area has faced prior flooding, as well as environmental and health challenges due to historical inequities and industrial contamination.

What Was the Response

  • The City partnered with local community groups and disaster relief organizations to provide assistance to impacted residents.
  • The immediate response with partners was to provide food assistance, hotel vouchers, pumps, clean-up equipment, and other supplies.
  • Once immediate needs were addressed, the City and partners began to assist with clean-up efforts, safety inspections of impacted properties, and finding long-term housing support for families who need it.
  • Community partners included Duwamish River Community Coalition, Just Health Action, Khmer Community of Seattle King County, Villa Communitaria, Cultivate South Park, and SeaMar Community Health.
  • Disaster relief partners included the Red Cross, Team Rubicon, King County Office of Emergency Management, and Public Health – Seattle & King County.
  • City agencies involved Seattle Public Utilities, Human Services Department, Office of Emergency Management, and Department of Construction & Inspections, with support from the Mayor’s Office, Office of Sustainability and Environment, Facilities and Administrative Services, and others.

What Help is Available

  • Food, donated clothing, laundry, and shower services are available on S Chicago Street for impacted residents.
  • Medical services are available through SeaMar Community Health, including COVID, Flu, Hep A, and Tetanus vaccinations.
  • Housing support is available for impacted residents. Please send an email to SouthParkFlooding@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-0912 and leave a voicemail to receive assistance.
  • Damage inspection support is available for impacted residents. Please send an email to SouthParkFlooding@seattle.gov or call (206) 684-0912 and leave a voicemail to receive assistance and see additional information on steps after flooding below.
  • Residents should contact their homeowners, renters, business, or car insurance provider to learn more about what damages may be covered and reimbursed. The City and County sometimes provide reimbursements when there are sewer backups or when the sewer or stormwater system malfunctions. Residents with damages should file a claim with the City, and the City may provide reimbursement upon its evaluation of the claim. You can find more information at Seattle.gov/City-Finance/File-A-Damage-Claim.
  • If you need help with your utility bills, financial assistance is available. Please call (206) 684-3000, interpretation services are available. You can also visit  Seattle.gov/UtilityBillHelp.
  • Email SouthParkFlooding@seattle.gov for resources and assistance or call (206) 684-0912 to leave a voicemail.

Steps After Flooding

  • Impacted residents should not stay in flood impacted houses or turn on power until they are inspected for hazards by professionals.
  • Impacted residents should always wear appropriate protective equipment when retrieving items or making repairs. See guide below.
  • Children and those with health risks should not enter buildings which were flooded until they have been inspected for hazards. See guide below.
  • Take pictures of any damage to your property, belongings, and valuables, and save receipts for any items or services related to repairing or cleaning your home.
  • Review EPA guidelines on what to keep and what to throw away after a flood, and place any flood damaged items on the curb for pickup. See guide below.
  • Required steps before moving back into a house:
    1. Preliminary electrical inspection: Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) has completed inspections of all 30 homes;
    2. Moisture and asbestos sampling: SPU and contractor ServiceMaster are conducting these tests;
    3. Removing muck and debris: SPU, ServiceMaster, and Team Rubicon are assisting households;
    4. Full mitigation: SPU and ServiceMaster are currently inspecting buildings to remove hazardous material, disinfect, and dry impacted homes. There is an additional optional step for the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections to inspect rental housing if residents request it.

Future City Work

  • The City of Seattle is committed to supporting a livable and sustainable community in South Park and is working with multiple partners to address future flooding risks.
  • The City is closely monitoring the anticipated January 21 – 27 king tide and preparing responses including sandbags and barriers to be deployed in neighborhoods. The December 27 event was an unprecedented combination of factors, and currently we do not anticipate as strong of an event.
  • The City is investing in improved drainage infrastructure in South Park, and Seattle Public Utilities will be opening a new pump station in 2023 to reduce the duration of future flooding events. The City is also building new roadway and drainage pipes in the South Park neighborhood as a frontline community for climate change impacts.
  • Climate change is causing our seas to rise and more extreme weather. Sea levels in Puget Sound have risen by 9 inches since 1900 and are expected to rise another 2 to 4 feet by 2100. Rising seas, combined with storm surges and extreme high tides, increase the risk of more frequent and severe shoreline flooding, erosion, and related impacts. The City will develop a long-term comprehensive climate adaptation plan in consultation with community groups.

For More Information and Assistance

The City of Seattle is working to reduce the risk of future flooding and support healthy, livable communities. Drinking water in the area has been tested and is safe.

Public Utilities

Andrew Lee, General Manager and CEO
Address: 700 5th Avenue, Suite 4900, Seattle, WA, 98104
Mailing Address: PO Box 34018, Seattle, WA, 98124-5177
Phone: (206) 684-3000
SPUCustomerService@seattle.gov

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Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) is comprised of three major direct-service providing utilities: the Water Utility, the Drainage and Wastewater Utility, and the Solid Waste Utility.