Earthquake Preparation

How Is Bellevue Utilities Preparing?

The retrofitted Crossroads Reservoir
Bellevue Utilities recognizes that a large magnitude earthquake could strike the Puget Sound region. That is why we have conducted resiliency evaluations of all our water reservoirs and are now embarking on the work needed to evaluate our water distribution system resiliency. The following are some of the ways we are preparing:

Seismic Vulnerability Assessment
We have and continue to evaluate our systems for performance during and after a seismic event. We have an ongoing seismic retrofit program for our water reservoirs and approximately half have been retrofitted or replaced and we have a schedule for the remaining.

Emergency Water Supply Master Plan

Bellevue’s water system is vulnerable to hazards, particularly earthquakes, that could disrupt water supply. The City is developing an Emergency Water Supply Master Plan (Master Plan) to improve water supply resiliency. The Master Plan will summarize water supply risks, potential emergency sources of water and mitigation actions to reduce community impacts and speed recovery. It will propose new policies specific to water supply emergencies and recommend short- and long-term improvements. Public engagement on the Master Plan is scheduled for late 2021.

Seismic anchors at Crossroads Reservoir

Water Shortage Contingency Plan
Bellevue has the ability to connect with neighboring municipalities’ water systems in the event that some areas of the region suffer less damage in the event of an earthquake.

Mobile Water Resources
Bellevue has a blivet system (portable, collapsible water tanks) to bring water to areas affected by water loss, and portable "jumper" hoses that can supply water between hydrants while we repair broken pipe.

Redundancy
Bellevue’s water system has redundancies built into it. This allows us to bypass breaks. Additionally, we have trailer-mounted generators to enable our pumping stations to deliver water to areas in need.

Staff Training
Bellevue’s utility staff regularly participate in emergency response practice activities to prepare for catastrophic events like earthquakes.

During emergency events, Bellevue also has the ability to execute contracts on a rapid turn-around basis to enable construction to fix broken systems quickly.

Mobile drinking water station (blivet)

Finally, Bellevue works together with regional partners to ensure a unified response should an earthquake strike. We are part of the regional Water Supply Forum. Its members include Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, and the Cascade Water Alliance (which Bellevue is a member, along with Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish Plateau Water, Skyway Water & Sewer District, and Tukwila). The group is focused on mitigating risks due to earthquakes and water quality events.

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