Quake may be at fault for water valve failure

City workers are repairing a leaky water valve cluster that may have been compromised by the Jan. 4 earthquake.


The magnitude 7.5 earthquake that struck 60 miles west of Craig rattled dishes in Juneau, and tsunami warnings sent Southeast coastal dwellers scrambling for high ground.

The City and Borough of Juneau Water Utility was notified of water bubbling up through the roadway at the intersection of Gail Avenue and Bresse Street.

While the utility does not yet have evidence of the cause, Utility Superintendent Dave Crabtree ventured a guess that the valve body or valve plate was on the verge of failure “and the earthquake we experienced was the final nudge that caused the failure to occur.”

Customers did not lose service, as the lines are loop fed, Crabtree said. The break is limited to the valve cluster, he said.

“We will have a better idea of the nature of the break when the valve is exposed on Thursday of this week,” Crabtree said.

City Manager Kim Kiefer reported at the assembly meeting Monday night that the city had suffered some relatively light damage from the quake.

Kiefer said some city owned buildings’ doors are sticking, walls have buckled, cracks in walls have appeared and some cracks have spread.

The Juneau Wastewater Utility Division also had to battle a sewer break, probably caused by the earthquake, she said.

The break was at the end of a sewer line, which Kiefer said was fortunate. A property owner noticed it. City workers looked in nearby manhole covers and located the break; they were able to fashion a bypass.

Kiefer said the city does not have a way to search out problems proactively and will have to address failures on a case-by-case basis.

“At this point we can say that so far we are fairly unharmed,” Kiefer said.

• Contact reporter Russell Stigall at 523-2276 or at russell.stigall@juneauempire.com.


  • Switchboard: 907-586-3740
  • Circulation and Delivery: 907-586-3740
  • Newsroom Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Business Fax: 907-586-9097
  • Accounts Receivable: 907-523-2230
  • View the Staff Directory
  • or Send feedback






Fri, 05/25/2018 - 10:12

Nature seminars start in June