Freezing temperatures burst Wharf pipes

The Coupeville wharf is closed for the time being as port officials respond to the damage.

The Coupeville wharf is closed for the time being as Port of Coupeville officials respond to damage sustained during last month’s freezing temperatures.

The wharf’s water main burst in three locations after freezing despite preventative measures, port Executive Director Chris Michalopoulos said. All three bursts were repaired and the pipe was left to thaw, but a section of the water main blew out when it was tested Wednesday, causing water to spill out of the pipe halfway down the causeway.

Port officials discovered Thursday that the sewer line had also frozen and burst in the extreme cold.

Initial estimates indicate repairs to both lines could cost around $160,000, though Michalopoulos said he anticipates the final price tag will come out higher. He said the port will likely have to dip into its reserves to pay for the repairs.

Because the new pipe damage will disrupt some wharf activities — and because it is only the most recent on a long list of maintenance projects planned for the wharf — Michalopoulos said the repairs cannot wait.

“This is getting to a very critical level,” he said of the compounded damage.

The executive director said he expects the wharf to be at least partially accessible again soon, though water will be cut off from the building. Restrooms will not be available, and the restaurant will be closed until after repairs. It is uncertain whether the gift shop will be able to remain open.

Michalopoulos said he hopes to get repairs underway by next month, though it is still too early to be sure what the timeline for repairs might look like.