Drivers in Oak Harbor will no longer be seeing purple.
The city recently reported that the LED street lights in the city have an indigo hue as a result of a manufacturing defect.
Public Works Director Steve Schuller said the city switched street lights to LED bulbs as the technology uses less energy and reduces maintenance costs for the city.
There are more than 1,000 streetlights in Oak Harbor. Schuller said most are owned and maintained by Puget Sound Energy; others are owned and operated by the city.
According to Schuller, some of the street lights were switched with LED bulbs in 2016. The city received a State Transportation Improvement Board grant in 2019 to replace others. He said 100 to 200 of the purple lights are being replaced.
“The LEDs are being replaced under warranty by the vendor,” Schuller wrote in an email. “They are in charge of the replacement schedule but plan to get most replaced in the next month.”
Since the lights are under warranty, replacing them will not cost taxpayers.
The lights were manufactured by Acuity Brands, a lighting and building management firm headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The original coating of the lights separated from the LED bulb, causing the light to appear bluish purple.
“The blue light effect occurred in a small percentage of our total population of branded fixtures, and we are not the only lighting manufacturer that has experienced this issue,” Cathy Lewandowski, external communications senior manager for Acuity Brands, wrote in an email.
She said the color change was not unsafe and that the company has resolved the issue with its new lights.
Schuller confirmed there were no safety concerns but the city did receive comments from community members that were “curious about the color choice,” he wrote.
Many cities across the U.S. and Canada have experienced the oddly colored lights. News outlets in Florida, North Carolina, Nebraska, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Winnipeg and Vancouver have all reported on the purple light phenomenon.