Boil Water Order continues for thousands in North Bend; Sallal calls emergency member meeting for September 25th

UPDATE | SEPTEMBER 23rd, 3PM

Please see the latest update from the Sallal Water Association about the E.coli contamination issue below:

The BOIL WATER ADVISORY is still in effect for the entire Sallal Water Association.  There will be an Emergency Meeting regarding the Water Incident Update and Chlorination Process for members Wednesday, September 25th from 7PM to 8:30PM in the Snoqualmie Casino Ballroom.  Please send questions that you would like answered to info@sallal.com by noon Wednesday. 

Sallal will have handouts on the facts available at the meeting and there will be a question and answer period.  Sallal does not have the means to record the meeting, but will share a written summary the following day on the Sallal website.

Over the weekend, Sallal water operators added chlorine throughout the entire water distribution system.  They are awaiting parts and equipment this week to automate the process.  Sampling will continue throughout this event. 

Sallal members may receive one case or 2 ½ gallon jug of water (per day) from North Bend QFC or Safeway by letting the cashier know that you are affected by the Boil Water Advisory.  Sallal will pay the stores. 

Water is no longer available at Sallal.  More information about reimbursement for water purchases with receipts or Sallal bill credits will be shared as soon as this information is available. 

The City of North Bend and Republic Services are providing a large recycle dumpster starting Monday, September 23rd at Torguson Park for Sallal customers to drop off and recycle their water bottles.  This recycling dumpster will be open to Sallal Water Association customers from 7AM – 6PM daily until further notice. Torguson Park is located at 750 East North Bend Way. 

If anyone in your household becomes ill, please seek medical attention or see your family doctor.   The CDC and King County Public Health instructions are to boil your water for one minute and let it cool before consuming.  More information is available HERE.

After the boil water order is removed, Sallal will be sharing information regarding how and when members will need to flush water in homes and businesses.  For those who use water filters, they will need to be changed after the house water systems has been flushed.  You may want to purchase filters soon to have them immediately available after flushing plumbing in your home.

Sallal said it appreciates help keeping members informed.  If you are a Sallal member and have not received an email update, please send your email address to info@sallal.com.  If you do not have access to a computer, please call the office and ask that your number be added to to the emergency call list and please register your number with ALERT King County (https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/emergency-management/alert-king-county.aspx). 

ORIGINAL STORY

On Friday, September 20th the Sallal Water Association said it had received lab results for 25 system-wide water samples taken on Wednesday, September 18th showing five new positive E. coli hits, with one coming directly from Well #2 at Rattlesnake – a source for the entire Sallal water system. 

Sallal said the the Boil Water Advisory will not be lifted until the situation is remedied.  According to a news release, the contaminated well #2 was turned off early Friday afternoon, September 20th, but E. coli remains in the system.  Sallal said, though, it will be able to serve all customers from its two remaining wells for many months if necessary. 

The whole system will be sanitized with chlorine before water is safe to drink. Because the process of sanitizing, refilling the tank and retesting the water is lengthy, the earliest that Sallal operators believe the Boil Water Advisory will be lifted is the week of October 1st. 

The original positive E.coli samples – taken from the Riverpoint area on Mt Si Road last week – were reported late Friday evening, September 13th.  Per Department of Health guidelines, notification to customers is not made until the findings are confirmed by subsequent testing. Sallal said this is so not to create panic over a false positive result. 

So more samples were collected on September 13th, but those results weren’t back from the lab until the following Monday, September 16th.  Those results showed one positive and one negative result.  After consulting with Department of Health (DOE), a third round of samples were taken in the Riverpoint area on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday afternoon, September 17th, conclusive positive E.coli results came back and customers were notified.

At that point entire system testing began. Because the Sallal Water System circulates water from all three of its wells, the entire system was placed on a boil water advisory the afternoon of Wednesday, September 18th.

Sallal has approximately 1,700 connections and 5,000 customers. If you pay a water bill to Sallal Water Association, you must boil your water. Additionally, residents of Wilderness Rim are also affected by the advisory.

The Riverbend community and Travel Centers of America is exempt from the Boil Advisory as they are on separate well systems.  The City of North Bend and the City of Snoqualmie water is NOT affected as they are separate systems entirely.

Bottled water is currently available for affected customers at the Sallal office, while supplies last.  

Sallal said it can also deliver water during business hours to the elderly or incapacitated members who are unable to leave their homes.

From Sallal: “The Board of Trustees have approved reimbursement for purchased bottled water with receipts.  At this time, the Board has not yet determined the process to follow for reimbursements as they are concentrating on supporting the staff.  Please wait until the advisory has been lifted before contacting staff regarding reimbursement.

Sallal said customers may continue to use water for showering, washing clothes, and washing dishes if a hot cycle is used and dishes are dry before using.  Pets should also not drink the water. 

Sallal apologized for the continued inconvenience and said it appreciates “patience and understanding during this difficult situation.” 

The cause of the E.coli has not been determined yet.

Sallal Water Assc. Service Area outline in RED

Comments

  1. Well, what started as an inconvenience, has now become a major financial blow. We have operated a Bed & Breakfast for the last 25 years. Between now, and the first week of Oct., we will cancel approx. $10,000 in reservations. Very difficult to convince a guest that all is well as long as you drink bottled water. Cancellations, at this time, is the norm, unfortunately.

  2. Travis Brown says

    please let us know how contamination @ the well head happen , then how it will be prevented in the future.

  3. Bergschlawiner says

    How does a well in the Watershed get contaminated?

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