UPDATE | NOVEMBER 5TH, 7PM
Sallal Water Association said they discovered evidence that the vandalized water tank was contaminated with leaves, branches and debris, which was contributing to Total Coliform in the water samples. The tank must be be drained in order to remove the objects, followed by sanitizing, and refilling.
Sallal reported on its website that none of the test samples showed fecal coliform bacteria or E. coli – only total coliform bacteria was detected, which is naturally occurring in the environment. The affected tank is isolated from the rest of Sallal’s water distribution system.
The DO NOT DRINK order remains in effect for 82 Riverpoint neighborhood and Mt. Si Road homes, but Sallal said affected residents can use the water for showering, washing clothes, and washing dishes as long as hot cycles are used and dishes are dry before using. Affected customers are also advised to drain and flush hot water tanks as an additional precaution.
Sallal said it is evaluating options and working with the Department of Health to resolve the situation as soon as possible, but now thinks the earliest it can lift the do not drink order is Friday, November 9th. This is due to the lengthy process of sanitizing and refilling the tank and then retesting the water.
On Sunday, November 4th the Sallal Water Association said the Do Not Drink order put in place on Halloween will stay in place a little while longer for 82 homes in the Riverpoint/Mt. Si neighborhood that are served by a vandalized water tank.
Over the weekend test results showed the presence of coliform bacteria, but showed no contamination of approximately 50 hazardous chemicals tested for in response to white pellets found at the tank site last week. The pellets were later determined to be biodegradable air soft pellets, but extensive water tests were still performed.
According to a press release, “There is a possibility that the bacteria discovered in the water might have been related to the vandalism incident on October 30th, but this has not been confirmed. Department of Health officials believe that the vandalism potentially may have contributed to the bacteria in the water.”
Sallal said it complies with Department of Health regulations regarding routinely sampling its water distribution system per the Association’s Coliform Monitoring Plan.
According to the Department of Health website, “Coliform bacteria are organisms that are present in the environment and in the feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans. Coliform bacteria will not likely cause illness. However, their presence in drinking water indicates that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in the water system. Most pathogens that can contaminate water supplies come from the feces of humans or animals.”
In the wake of the vandalism, Sallal performed extensive flushing of the nearly 160,000 water tank. Per Department of Health instruction, the tank was also chlorinated. More water samples were then taken over the weekend and Sallal says those results should be available November 5th and 6th.
The water association, which serves approximately 5,000 people in the North Bend area, said it has took security enhancement measures at the vandalized tank site. Over the weekend, operators also repaired a majority of the damaged tank parts that included cut cables, a removed air vent cover and tampered with level indicators.
Sallal said is working to get customers back to safe drinking water as soon as possible. Bottled water donated from the Snoqualmie Tribe is available at the Sallal office, or Sallal can deliver water upon request.
Sallal will inform affected members when tests are clear and when the water is safe to drink. It anticipates resolving the problem as soon as it receives communication from the Department of Health.
Impacted homes include the Riverpoint neighborhood on Mt. Si Road and East to 480th Ave SE.
Affected North Bend Homes: