Copyright 2001 Park Projects. Please feel free to use the article and photos below in your research. Be sure to quote the Jet City Maven as your source.

Earthquake damage could be hidden


The recent 6.8 earthquake didn't do nearly as much damage to North Seattle as it did to other Puget Sound areas. However, it did some damage area schools and facilities built on fill. Particularly hard hit was Ballard along Market Street and in the historic district near the Ship Canal.

I asked Matt Maury of the Home Owners Club if they had received many calls from homeowners regarding Earthquake damage. Maury said that their amount of calls doubled with the most common problem, toppled chimneys.

A surprising amount of damage was done to sewer systems. Maury said that a lot of people don't think about their side sewers, the line that runs from the house to the street. However, older sewers constructed from clay pipe can colapse under the weight of the shifting earth. The newer PVC plastic pipes are less likely to be damaged.

Maury says the problem starts out as a slow sewer and after trying Draino and other methods, the homeowner calls out the Rooter guys. However, instead of pulling out a clog, they start to pull out dirt. This is a sure sign that you have lost your sewer system.

Maury suggests replacing the entire line with PVC plastic pipe. It is more expensive initially, but will keep you from having to pay for repairs every year as you will undoubtedly have to do once the system has been compromised.