Seattle Times reports that City Light has finalized its picks for contractors to test thousands of streetlight poles and vault covers in Seattle after electricity leaks were found across the city:
Seattle City Light has hired two companies to help it test all 20,000 metal streetlight poles to see if they have faulty wiring that could cause dangerous voltage problems.
City Light hired Davey Resources Group from Ohio and Power Resources Corp. from New Jersey. It was Power Resources that discovered three power poles on Capitol Hill, First Hill and the Central District that were emitting contact voltage, which could pose a safety hazard.
We reported last week that three electrified streetlight poles were found on corners in central Seattle including right here at 23rd and Union:
- — 60 to 80 volts — Cause: Deteriorated wires
- — 90 to 105 volts — Cause: Unknown
- — 60 to 80 volts — Cause: Unknown
Each of the lights was shut down until repairs could be made, according to City Light. We were not able to confirm from City Light exactly which pole was identified at 23rd and Union.
While the exact cause of the escaped voltage is not known for two of the three locations, age appears to be a factor in each as old wiring was to blame on Aloha and the two metal poles involved in the First Hill and Central District locations were both 30 to 40 years old. City Light told us that the contractors would likely target neighborhoods like Capitol Hill and the Central District for inspections first given the age of the infrastructure in the area. Times reports that the contractors are continuing to work with City Light’s original springtime target to complete inspections across the city.
The voltage in each of the three nearby locations was potentially dangerous. The Queen Anne dog death on Thanksgiving that first brought attention to the problem poles involved about 90 volts but even 30 or 40 volts can be lethal to small creatures — including humans.