UPDATE | September 18, 2019, 6:30PM
[Note: Below we have added a water purveyor map for the upper Snoqualmie Valley. Only Businesses and residences in the pink and orange areas of North Bend are affected. City of North Bend and City of Snoqualmie water is not impacted.]
[Another note: Refrigerator water filters and/or Brita style water pitchers with filters will NOT get rid of potential e-coli bacteria. The water must be boiled to kill the bacteria.]
The Sallal Water Association has expanded its boil water/do not drink advisory to the ENTIRE water district. Sallal serves approximately 1,700 customers, including homes, businesses and two SVSD schools in the eastern portions of North Bend – mainly in unincorporated King County areas.
The email sent issuing the district-wide advisory said on September 17th, four additional samples were taken west of the original affected area. One included the presence of E. coli at the sampling station on 468th Ave SE. One sample had total coliform only.
According to a news release, Sallal has flushed the water system and added chlorine to eliminate the bacteria. Staff members are taking more water samples from the entire water distribution system and working closely with the DOH. Water operators from other systems have been supporting Sallal operators in sampling and inspecting the facilities.
The cause of the contamination is still unknown. Bacterial contamination can occur when increased runoff enters the drinking water source following heavy rains; due to a break in the distribution system lines; damage during construction; or faulty backflow assembly.
Sallal will inform customers when tests show that the water is safe to drink. Sallal is working toward correcting the problem by September 23rd or 24th. Bottled water donated from the Snoqualmie Tribe is available at the Sallal office, 44021 SE Tanner Rd Suite E, or Sallal can deliver upon request.
Impact to Two SVSD Schools: Twin Falls Middle School and Opstad Elementary are served by Sallal. The district said those schools will continue to operate on regular schedule. However, the following special precautions will be implemented:
- Bottled drinking water will be provided.
- Fountains and sinks will be clearly marked to prohibit drinking.
- Hand sanitizer will be provided and strongly encouraged.
- Food Services staff at both schools has been apprised and will be taking extra precautions. All water will be boiled according to the Boil Water Advisory.
AFFECTED AREA IN PINK AND ORANGE
UPDATE | September 18, 2019
According to Sallal Water Association, staff take water samples from about 25 sampling stations located throughout its service area. In August, samples were taken in the Riverpoint area and no E. Coli was present.
As part of the routine sampling protocol, Sallal took samples on Wednesday, September 11th and received those lab results on Friday, September 13th with one sample showing fecal coliform bacteria, or E. coli, present in the water.
Follow-up samples were taken as required by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, September 13th. One sample came back still showing the bacteria. More testing followed on Monday. According to one source, six more samples were taken with four containing coliform.
Staff is still in the process of clarifying exactly what happened and the timeline, but said the first priority is getting safe water to the Riverpoint neighborhood.
Sallal has flushed the water system, added chlorine to eliminate the bacteria and is taking more water samples from the affected area while working closely with the DOH. Customers will be informed when tests show that the water is safe to drink. The problem is anticipated to be resolved by September 23-24.
Sallal is offering bottled water to impacted customers at its office at 44021 SE Tanner Rd Suite E in North Bend.
On Tuesday, September 17, 2019 the Sallal Water Association issued a Water Alert for some of its customers in eastern North Bend, saying water in the Riverpoint neighborhood and the area east of the Riverpoint neighborhood along Mt. Si Road to 480th tested positive for an E-coli contamination. Approximately 82 homes are affected.
The E-coli bacteria was detected on September 16th. According to its website, Sallal is advising affected customers to not drink the water until it’s been tested and to purchase bottled water until further notice for:
- Making ice
- Brushing teeth
- Washing dishes and
- Food preparation
Sallal Water is in the process of disinfecting the water in the Terrel tank and the affected water distribution system with chlorine. The water association said there have been no reports of abnormal odors, tastes, rash, or illness from customers.
Sallal customers located outside of the area served by the tank are not impacted by the “do not drink” advisory, as there is no indication that the rest of the water system was affected.
According to an email sent to impacted customers, Sallal has consulted with the Washington State Department of Health about the incident and is investigating the source of the contamination. Additional samples will be taken to determine the extent of the contamination and to determine when the water is safe.
E. Coli bacteria presence indicates that water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes. Microbes in these wastes can cause diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches or other symptoms.
Per the Sallal notification email: “Bacterial contamination can occur when increased run-off enters the drinking water source (for example, following heavy rains). It can also happen due to a break in the distribution system (pipes) or a failure in the water treatment process.”
The email went on to say the association would inform impacted customers when tests show no bacteria, saying “we anticipate resolving the problem within a week.”
Impacted Sallal Customers: