On November 1st the Sallal Water Association reduced the number of homes impacted when a large water storage tank was vandalized to 82. The association stated it continues to work closely with authorities regarding the vandalism and water contamination scare.
According to the initial incident report, a caller reported white pellets were intentionally released into the drinking water storage tank when “an individual climbed a reservoir, cut a hatch open, cut level measurement probes, cut a vent off of a storage tank and may have introduced an unknown material that resembles white pellets into the drinking water supply.”
Authorities later said the pellets found in the tank area were believed to be biodegradable air soft pellets. KCSO Sgt. Ryan Abbott said nothing leads them to believe there was something in water, but the water association is being extremely cautious.
Via press release Sallal explained that on Wednesday, October 31st at 10:30AM, a resident reported a suspicious person leaving the area of one of the Sallal Water Association’s (state water system ID # 75560Q) water tanks. Sgt Abbott clarified that the reporting person observed the suspicious person the previous day. Sallal inspected the tank after being alerted, where personnel found cables cut, an air vent cover removed, and level indicators tampered with.
82 homes were affected in the Riverpoint neighborhood on Mt. Si Road and East to 480th Ave SE.
After the inspection, calls were made to the King County Sheriff’s Office and WA State Department of Public Health (DOH) to report the vandalism and concerns over potential water contamination. The National Response Center took an incident report from the DOH at 2:25PM.
Per the incident report, the vandalism occurred on October 30th to a [remote] tank located near 492nd Ave SE and SE 115th Street. After October 31st Department of Health report, door to door notifications were made in the impacted neighborhoods, along with website posts, social media posts, and a Reverse 9-1-1 call.
Sallal took water samples on Wednesday, October 31 as directed by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), and on Thursday, November 1st test results from a water sample that showed no detections of a range of harmful substances. Follow up samples were taken on Thursday, November 1st as required by the DOH and Sallal is awaiting those test results which should be delivered by Friday, November 2nd. Sallal will be adding chlorine to the system as directed by the DOH and also taking additional samples on November 2nd.
Sallal said public safety is their primary concern and as precautionary measures they are “testing and flushing the water from the vandalized tank and the affected water distribution system.” According to the Sallal website, there have been no reports of abnormal odors, tastes, rash, or illness from water users.
Until final test results are in, Sallal is asking affected residents to not drink the water, which includes the Riverpoint neighborhood and the area east of the Riverpoint neighborhood along Mt. Si Road to 480th.
They anticipate resolving the problem Monday, November 5th and will inform residents when tests are clear and the water is safe.
Impacted residents are asked to purchase bottled water until further notice. Bottled water donated from the Snoqualmie Tribe is available at the Sallal office, or Sallal can deliver upon request. Bottled water should be used for:
- Making ice
- Brushing teeth
- Washing dishes and
- Food preparation
Sallal customers outside the area served by the vandalized tank are not subject to the do not drink advisory. Sallal said all other tanks were inspected and there is no indication they were vandalized or compromised. The City of North Bend stated that all of its water supply was also inspected and there were no signs of tampering observed.
Visit the Sallal website to follow their updates: www.sallal.com