FAQ - Public Works Department
Visit the City of Anacortes Public Works Department page for more information.
PUBLIC WORKS: Why does the City prefer public streets to private streets? Private streets are not preferred for the following reasons: lack of traffic control; speeding enforcement; parking enforcement; abandoned vehicles disposal; signage installation; lack of reliable maintenance; pothole repair; sidewalk curb and gutter repair; street light maintenance; signage maintenance / theft replacement; asphalt overlay; snow and ice removal; street sweeping; decreased water quality; street light utility bills; sight distance triangle clear zone; damage or accelerated wear due to utility vehicles, garbage trucks, delivery vehicles, fire trucks
PUBLIC WORKS: Questions regarding the utilities within the street (fire line/hydrant maintenance, sewer lines, storm drains, and water lines) -- Are they private utilities or public utilities with public easements within a private street? Generally, the Home Owners Association (HOA) will charge an additional monthly fee to cover private street maintenance. This money is sometimes used for other things once the street is built to a certain level. The HOA will have to vote on the use of the money for the repair. In addition, the HOA will have to hire contractors to do the work. After time, residents “forget” their street is private, and they expect the City to maintain it.
PUBLIC WORKS: Why can`t we do something to slow down traffic for pedestrians?
1) What the City is doing. The City has recently installed pedestrian crosswalks throughout the Old Town area. We installed a pilot project at Mount Erie School (41st Street) which includes pedestrian activated, solar-powered crosswalk warning lights, we installed solar powered crosswalk lights in all school zones, and that`s not all--- it will also have permanently mounted traffic radar to clock and display the speed of cars moving through the crosswalk. You can call my engineers at 293-1920 for further information.
2) What YOU can do. The City of Anacortes has a policy for all city staff driving city vehicles, from the garbage trucks to our hybrid cars, to STOP FOR PEDESTRIANS WHENEVER POSSIBLE. YOU also can make a difference by stopping for pedestrians in town and letting them cross. If our citizens were to do this, it would soon catch on, even to ferry traffic and out of town visitors.
PUBLIC WORKS: Whom do I call if a streetlight is out? Call Puget Sound Energy at (888) CALL-PSE (225-5773) or go to their website to report the problem.
PUBLIC WORKS: Whom do I call if the signal lights at an intersection are out? Call 911 and the Washington State Department of Transportation (360) 428-1355.
PUBLIC WORKS: Where can I get City maps? Some maps are available online here. You may also visit the Engineering Department at the City Hall Municipal Building. You can e-mail our GIS Coordinator, Robert Hoxie, or call him at (360) 299-1988.
PUBLIC WORKS: How do I locate my sewer or other utilities located on or near my property? Call the Utilities Underground Locating Service (One-Call) at (800) 424-5555 or dial 811, Call Before You Dig, and the Engineering Department at City Hall (360) 293-1920.
PUBLIC WORKS: Who do I call if I need to dig on or near my property? Call the Utilities Underground Locating Service (One-Call) at (800) 424-5555 or dial 811, Call Before You Dig, and the Engineering Department at City Hall (360) 293-1920.
PUBLIC WORKS: When do I need to call before I dig? Call Before You Dig! Dial 811 if you plan to: dig more than 12 inches deep; install a fence; build a deck; plant trees; build a shed; dig a well or septic tank; install sprinkler systems; or install private utilities to a shop, barn, garage or greenhouse. Make sure to call 811 at least 48 hours before you plan to dig. The center will then notify agencies and utilities in your area to mark their lines.
PUBLIC WORKS: Why do I need to call before I dig? Requesting a locate is free, but not requesting one can be expensive and dangerous. Locating utility lines buried underground can help you dig around them safely and help prevent personal injury, property damage, interrupted service and monetary liabilities that can result from a line being hit. It is also the law, RCW 19.122.030 states you must call before you dig.
PUBLIC WORKS: What are those paint markings in front of my house? Different colors of paint are sprayed onto the ground to identify the types and locations of underground utilities prior to excavation in the area. If you find locate marking on your property, or in the area, and want to inquire who requested them or what project will be done, please contact 811.
PUBLIC WORKS: I see sidewalks around town that go nowhere. An example is the sidewalk recently installed on the north side of Oakes Avenue near Anacopper Mine Road. What is this all about? Developers are responsible to meet city standards for infrastructure on the frontage of their projects. The city standard since the 1990`s has been to have sidewalks on all residential streets. Pedestrian mobility is a high priority for the city. For many years, this was not the case and not a requirement. Requiring developers to install this infrastructure now may look funny, but it saves tax dollars in the future by avoiding the cost of the city installing sidewalks later on. Some of our current sidewalks are over 100 years old! For more information, call Public Works at (360) 293-1920, or see our Development Standards here.
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SOLID WASTE: What time do my garbage totes need to be out? Garbage and recycling totes need to be placed at the service location by 7:00 AM on your service day.
SOLID WASTE: How can I dispose of my yard waste? The CIty of Anacortes does not provide Organics (Yard Waste & Food Scraps) collection at this time. Organics collection is available by contacting Waste Management at (800) 592-9995.
SOLID WASTE: How do I dispose of appliances? You can call the City of Anacortes Solid Waste Department to schedule a pick-up, or take it to the Skagit County Transfer Station.
SOLID WASTE: How do I get rid of extra garbage? Place extra refuse in pre-paid “City Garbage Bags”: blue, heavy-duty 32-Gallon capacity bags available for purchase at City Hall and various retail outlets throughout Anacortes (Ace Hardware, The Market at Anacortes, Safeway, Sebo’s Do It Center). You can put the bag out next to your tote on your regular pickup day. Please call the Solid Waste Department at 360-293-1921 for information on Special Hauls, Appliance Removal, and Free Cleanup days.
SOLID WASTE: What happens if my pickup day falls on a holiday? See our Holiday Solid Waste Schedule. Call (360) 293-1921 for more information.
SOLID WASTE: Where is the Skagit County Recycling & Transfer Station? Head East on Hwy 20, turn left on Farm to Market Road and right on Ovenell Road. The Transfer Station will be immediately on your right at 14104 Ovenell Rd. The telephone number is (360) 424-3873. Visit their website for hours and additional information.
SOLID WASTE: Whom do I contact for recycling information or misses? We currently contract with Waste Managment for City of Anacortes residents; please call (800) 592-9995. For new construction service, please visit our New Customer Service page.
SOLID WASTE: How do I get a new recycle tote? To obtain a replacement tote, please contact Waste Management at (800) 592-9995.
SOLID WASTE: Whom do I contact for yard waste information? Please call Waste Management (800) 592-9995 for organics (yard waste and food scraps) collection. Additional information is available at their website.
SOLID WASTE: How do I change the size or number of my City garbage tote? Please contact our Solid Waste Department at (360) 293-1921 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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STREETS: How do I get a street sign installed? Please contact the Engineering Department, Traffic Engineer at (360) 293-1920.
STREETS: How do I get my sidewalk replaced? Contact the Street Department at (360) 293-1921 for more information
STREETS: How do I get the potholes in my alley filled in? Call (360) 293-1921 to report any potholes in the City.
STREETS: How do I report a street repair? Contact the Street Department at (360) 293-1921.
STREETS: My alley really needs to be paved with asphalt. How can I get this done? Unfortunately, the street paving fund is always very tight. If you and your neighbors would like an alley paved, we do offer a program where residents pay for the asphalt paving and the city street crew will prepare the gravel base before paving. Call (360) 293-1921 for more details.
STREETS: How do I get my street re-paved? Overlays are proposed as funding becomes available. All streets have a limited life span due to the daily wear and tear by traffic. We have prioritized all of the streets in the City as to when they qualify for a new asphalt overlay. An ongoing Street Overlay Program is funded by the Capital Facilities Plan. If you believe your street is in need of re-paving, please contact the Public Works Department at (360) 293-1920, and we can check the condition of the surface of your street to see when and if it qualifies for an overlay.
STREETS: Why are some streets in the City still made of gravel? Most of the city streets were paved in the 1960`s using what is called the "Local Improvement District" or "LID" concept. Under an LID, neighbors pool together monies to pave the street in front of their house. In some areas, neighbors decided that they did not desire a paved street. Call (360) 293-1920 if you are interested in getting your street paved.
WASTEWATER: What is the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant? The capacity of the treatment plant is established by the Department of Ecology. The current rated capacity of the plant is 4.5 million gallons of wastewater per day. During 2007, the average daily flow at the plant was 1.91 million gallons per day.
WASTEWATER: When will the wastewater treatment plant need to be upgraded? The plant has excess treatment capacity. There are no plans to expand the treatment plant capacity in the near future.
WASTEWATER: Where can I dump my recreational vehicle holding tank? RVs, small boats and trailers may dump their holding tanks at no charge at the treatment plant. The RV dump station, located on the 4th St side of the plant, is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. seven days a week. The dump station is open from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on holidays. Potable water is available for RV and trailers at the plant administration building at 500 T Ave. The potable water hose is attached to the building at the right of the front door. If assistance is needed, please feel free to come inside and the receptionist will alert an operator to help. Additionally there is an RV dump station at Washington Park.
WASTEWATER: Where does the water go after it is treated at the wastewater plant? Treated water from the wastewater treatment plant is piped out into the Guemes Channel. The end of the pipe is located just to the west of the Port of Anacortes Pier 2.
WASTEWATER: Why is our sewer bill connected to our water use? Since it is impractical to install a meter on your sewer line your sewer bill is calculated based on the average water use during the months of November, December, January and February. Conserving water during these months can lower you sewer bill.
WASTEWATER: Why is the RV dump station not open 24 hours per day? The RV dump station has been used to dump hazardous waste on several occasions in the past. It is closed after hours to prevent the disposal of hazardous waste into the sewer.
WASTEWATER: Does the wastewater treatment plant accept septic tank waste? In addition to treating the City of Anacortes wastewater flow the plant also accepts septic waste. The septage facility is a fee-based system that currently charges the haulers 10 cents per gallon for waste originating on Fidalgo Island and 12 cents per gallon for waste coming from off of the island. Septage haulers are encouraged to contact the plant administration building at 500 T Ave to set up a waste hauler account.
WASTEWATER: Does the wastewater treatment plant smell bad? The plant has a sophisticated odor control system. In 2010, the City completed a 1 million dollar upgrade to our Odor Control system at the WWTP. The system prevents odors from escaping from the treatment plant site. The City considers the control of odors at the wastewater treatment plant to be one of the highest operating priorities. Wastewater Plant Operators also work hard at preventing odors from the sewer collection and pumping systems. These systems may produce odors that are in areas not close to the treatment plant. If you smell odors from the plant or the sewer collection system, it is important to notify the plant operating staff immediately. During working hours a plant operator will respond right away, please call the plant immediately at (360) 299-0953.
WATER: How do I keep my pipes from freezing? One of the first things and one that is often overlooked until it is too late are disconnecting outside hoses. The water in the hoses freezes and then works its way into the outside wall often breaking the pipe just inside your house. Another important thing to do is to cover the foundation vents during freezing weather. If your house is older and possibly lacking insulation in the walls, open the cupboard doors to allow heat into the area where your pipes are. You may also want to let the faucet that’s farther away from the meter trickle during extreme cold spells.
WATER: How do I check for a water leak on my property? The easiest way is to go out to the meter and watch the register on top of the meter for a little while. On a standard household meter, there is a row of numbers on the register, which record cubic feet of water used. Just below the row of numbers is a small red triangle that rotates as water passes through the meter. If everything is turned off in the house and this red triangle is rotating, then you have a leak on your side of the meter. Very small leaks may take several minutes of watching this red triangle to be able to see it move. If the leak is causing damage to your house or property, you can shut it down at the gate valve in the meter box. If you cannot find your meter box or you cannot get it shut off, you can call (360) 293-1921 during normal business hours and 911 on nights and weekends. The City does not repair leaks on the customer side of the meter; this will have to be done by the homeowner or a plumber.
WATER: How do I shut my water off in an emergency? On most water services, there is a gate valve on your side of the meter. There may also be a shut off valve near, or in, the house. It is a good idea to locate them before you have an emergency. If you cannot locate either valve, please call (360) 293-1921 during business hours or 911 for after hour emergencies.
WATER: Where does our drinking water come from? The City of Anacortes draws water from the Skagit River through an intake station; water is then run through the treatment process at the water treatment plant. The plant is staffed 24 hours a day 365 days a year by highly trained, capable and dedicated plant operators. Once the water completes the treatment process it is pumped into a 3 million gallon storage reservoir in Anacortes, from there it enters the distribution system for delivery to your home.
WATER: Why do you add fluoride to the water? In 1962, the residents of Anacortes voted to have their drinking water fluoridated, so in October the water department began adding fluoride to the water at the 3 million gallon reservoir. Fluoride residuals are monitored very closely, plant staff collects and analyzes a water sample on a daily basis, in addition, there is an on-line analyzer installed at the reservoir that analyzes and reports the residual to the Water Treatment plant every 5 minutes. Operating parameters for fluoride are a minimum of 0.80 parts per million to a maximum of 1.20 parts per million.
City of Anacortes Public Works Department
City Hall Municipal Building, Third Floor
904 6th Street
Corner of 6th Street & Q Avenue, behind the US Post Office
Mailing Address: PO Box 547 Anacortes WA 98221
Public Works Telephone: (360) 293-1901
Fax: (360) 293-1938
City of Anacortes Operations Facility and Maintenance Shop
2201 37th Street
Corner of 37th Street and D Avenue, by the Anacortes School District bus barn
Mailing Address: 2201 37th St Anacortes WA 98221
Operations Telephone: (360) 293-1921
Fax: (360) 293-1931
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