Sewers Repairs to Commercial Avenue

September 22, 2016

 "We’re excited about this project. It will have long-term benefits for the sewer system for Anacortes, repairing it for years to come."

Mark your calendars, Anacortes. Though, unless you frequent north Commercial Avenue after 8 p.m. this probably won’t affect you. Block by block, from 9th Street down to 3rd Street, a crew will be working overnight to repair the sewer lines underneath Commercial Avenue in October.

The City decided to start this project after the high season, and after one of Anacortes’ most famous events, Oyster Run, in order to lessen the burden on residents, business owners and tourists visiting our fine city.

Sewers Repairs to Commercial Avenue

Here’s what’s happening – sewer improvements that started back in early spring showed city staff there was a need for a more intensive rehabilitation process. This routine maintenance revealed that repairs had not been done on the pipes, which date back to the 1930s, for quite sometime, and there were a lot of cracks in the pipes. In order to avoid digging up the street for major repairs, the City researched and employed a process called “Cured in Place Pipe” which we discussed in our previous blog post back in April. This less disruptive process will strengthen and reinforce the pipes, making them sustainable for many years and help to control inflow and infiltration.

If you’re as curious as we are about Cured In Place Pipe (CIPP), here’s a peek into how it works. The contractor inserts a fiberglass sock into the sewer line. One end is tied off, and the other end is brought up vertically into the middle of the manhole. Hot water is poured into the sock, so it expands to fit the pipe. After waiting an appropriate amount of time, the contractor cuts the end of the sock and lets the water drain out. Then the fiberglass hardens, building a reinforcement inside that restores the pipe so there’s no more crack. The contracted work crew will be able to complete one block per evening.

Night owls and those who frequent Commercial Avenue between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., here is how this project will affect you. Since this is a block-by-block process, only one block will be affected at a time. Businesses in that block will have to shut off their water from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. for the time the sewers on their block are being repaired. The City has been in contact already with the businesses that will be affected, in order to give them plenty of time to plan for the water outage. Parking won’t be affected, but no one will be able to use water inside buildings on the block being worked on.

What is affected when the water is off?

  • Sink
  • Toilet
  • Shower
  • Dishwasher
  • Laundry

The City never shies from outreach with projects that affect the public, and this particular project is no different. Fred Buckenmeyer, Director of Public Works for Anacortes, has met with the Downtown Retail Association and Chamber of Commerce already, as well as publishing a press release. City staff will be going door-to-door with more information when it’s available. Business owners will be given 24 hours notice before their water is turned off, and another notification when it’s safe to turn the water back on. This notification will most likely be with a door hanger.

“We’re excited about this project. It will have long-term benefits for the sewer system for Anacortes, repairing it for years to come.”
– Fred Buckenmeyer

With the benefits outweighing the impact, and the timing happening after the settle of summertime activities, it seems this project is poised for success. We encourage business owners and interested residents to stay in contact with us on social media – Facebook & Twitter – for the latest new and updates. As always, we’re happy to answer questions regarding this project. Contact us at Public Works Department – 360.293.1919 or