Residents and businesses were urged to limit water use after the city reported a break in the transmission line from the Astoria watershed Friday morning.

The city asked people to only use the amount of water required for normal, daily routines. City staff planned to reach out to Astoria breweries, which are among the highest water users, and ask them to conserve water as much as possible during this time.


Astoria draws drinking water from the Bear Creek watershed.

The break impacts Astoria and the outlying water districts the watershed serves, including Willowdale, Fernhill, John Day, Olney, Walluski, Riverpoint and Williamsport.

The city advised water customers in Willowdale, Fernhill, John Day, Olney, Walluski, Riverpoint and around the Clatsop County Fairgrounds to boil all water before using until further notice.

“While the danger to public health is low, we are taking all necessary precautions to ensure the safety and health of the public,” Eric Bufkin, the city’s water quality supervisor, said in a statement.

The city stores water in four different areas and typically has more than a week’s worth of water on hand, but past breaks have sometimes required several days to repair, said Nathan Crater, the city engineer.

The current break occurred in an area that is not easily accessible.

It is not clear what caused the waterline break. The pipe is more than 50 years old, but has proved to be very resilient in the past, Crater said. This style of pipe has a long design life, he said.

The damage may have been caused by movement in the earth following days of heavy rain on the North Coast.

“Really no pipe can deal with a landslide,” Crater said.

Repairing the transmission line is the city’s top priority, City Manager Brett Estes said.

Squall-like conditions knocked out power to more than 1,000 customers in Astoria late Thursday afternoon, according to Pacific Power.

Heavy rains on Thursday evening through Friday morning led to localized flooding throughout Clatsop County as culverts and pipes got backed up with water and debris.

A culvert failure undermined a section of Hillcrest Loop Road in the Knappa area. The road at the 0.5 mile marker has been closed and is expected to reopen next week, Brett Brenden, the county’s foreman for the Knappa area, said.

In the Elsie area, flooded streams started to undermine the edge of the road on Oregon Highway 103, according to T.J. Hecox, the county’s foreman for the Jewell area.

“Any time the landowners and the homeowners can clear their driveways of the leaves and the fall debris before the heavy rains definitely helps us out a lot,” Hecox said.

A tree toppled on state Highway 103, but was soon cleared, Mark Buffington, the District 1 manager at the Oregon Department of Transportation, said.

Flooding occurred on U.S. Highway 101 on Beerman Creek Road south of Seaside.

From ODOT’s standpoint, “Clatsop County’s been pretty quiet,” Buffington said.

Schools in Knappa opened two hours late on Friday morning.

The school district said the delay was due to flooding on local roads.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for the North Coast through late Friday.

Erick Bengel contributed to this report.

Katie Frankowicz is a reporter for The Astorian. Contact her at 971-704-1723 or