BOIL WATER NOTICES
The District tries to replace as much outdated pipe as possible to prevent waterlines from breaking, however waterlines can break due to unforeseen circumstances. If a break occurs and a customer runs out of water, or their water pressure is reduced, the customer will be notified by our Phone Tree system to boil their water. This is a requirement from the State of Oregon in case any bacteria enters the line from dirt or rain water. We are not trying to alarm home owners with these notices, however we do want our customers to be safe. Boil water notices can effect small or large areas of the community. Rest assured that our crew will work to repair the breaks even on weekends or nights, regardless of weather conditions. We follow the best practices set by the Oregon Health Department. After the repair of the water line is made, we flush the line, make sure the chlorine residuals are at the appropriate levels, and take water samples to be tested for bacteria in a laboratory. Once we receive notice that the test results are good, we will contact the customers via our Phone Tree system. After repairs are made, you may notice that your water looks cloudy. This is simply due to air bubbles and does not effect the quality of your water. You can run water through your faucets to help get the air out of the lines. Please note that we get our water from a different water source than Portland. Portland Water Bureau gets their water from Bull Run, and Corbett Water District gets water from Gordon Creek. Therefore, if a boil water notice is in effect in Portland, it does not effect our District.
Commonly Asked Questions Following a Boil Water Notice
The following information is provided to answer questions from the public about how they should respond to public Boil Water advisories issued under USEPA/DHS advisory rules. Public Water systems are required to issue boil Water Notices under the following circumstances:
Failure of a system to meet microbial standards.
Failure of a system to meet treatment or turbidity standards.
Failure of a system to adequately disinfect the water.
Failure of a system to maintain positive pressure in distribution.
In some cases the hazards will be more acute than others, but not generically different. The presence of organisms is conclusive evidence of potential harm, lack of disinfectant implies that viable organisms may reach customers, and high turbidity interferes with disinfection which can lead to viable organisms surviving and reaching the customer. When Boil Notices are in place, customers need to know what uses they can safely continue, and what uses require boiling of the water before use. Since any of the above scenarios result in inadequately treated water reaching households, our advice about safe uses should be consistent. Water used for activities that require boiling should be brought to a rolling boil for 1 minute.
Activities that do require boiled water
Washing Food served without cooking/baking or Adding water to food without cooking/baking
Cleaning food contact surfaces
Taking water with medications
Activities that do not require boiled water
*Dish washing or rinsing
General cleaning, mopping
Pet watering / Pet bathing
Plant water / Irrigation
*Cleaned dishes and utensils should be rinsed in water that contains 1 tablespoon of household bleach per gallon of water (100-200 ppm chlorine) and allowed to air dry before use.
*Home treatment devices that do not boil or chemically disinfect the water with acceptable disinfectants are not considered reliable alternatives to boiling the water.
DECEMBER 27, 2018 BOIL WATER NOTICE
1.How did it happen? Why did it happen?
Water main breaks are a natural occurrence that plague all water systems. They tend to be seasonal. They can be caused by ground movement from temperature changes.
As industry standards improve to decrease structural failures, better technology and materials have become available, lessening catastrophic failures.
In this particular case, on December 27 there was a 25’ long split on the 10” main line on Grange Hall Road. The water main broke around 10:50 a.m. on Thursday, December 27, 2018. The water main was shut off at approximately 11:30 a.m. Repairs were completed in the early hours of the morning, Friday, December 28, 2018. Corbett Water District employees, Lovett Construction and David Jacob worked on the repairs. The 10 inch pipe was PVC and there’s evidence that it had been installed improperly – a practice called “homing”, which should not be used on plastic, may have caused the break. It is also worth noting that the pipe was installed almost 50 years ago, in 1972.
2.Do we have a lot of breaks…more than other communities/municipalities?
Corbett Water District has fewer main breaks than other districts large or small. In the past 10 years, we have had 11 main breaks. Some of our good fortune can be ascribed to our area’s geology and geography – less ground movement. It should be noted that installation practices and materials do make a difference one way or the other. We install all of our lines to code which should continue to support our relatively low rate of main breaks.
3.It took a while to find out what was going on. Why? How do you inform customers of main breaks? What can be done to improve?
Corbett Water District has an antiquated phone tree system and that system failed in this instance. We are in the process of researching options for more effective phone communication systems both public and private.
Water Districts are not required to call customers about the main break itself. Districts are required to communicate to customers of boil water notices. It is also important to make clear that Corbett Water District goes above and beyond what is required to water districts in main break situations. Notification of customers:
•Office answering machine message was updated with information about the boil water notice •Posts were placed on Corbett Facebook page, Corbett Fire twitter and Facebook •Local television news stations advised customers in Corbett to check our website •Boil water notice with roads affected posted on corbettwaterdistrict.com website •Using our customer list, the office staff called each customer affected. We tried all numbers listed for the customer’s account. We contacted or attempted to contact 521 customers. 4.When we got the notice to boil water, we didn't have any water. What do we do then? I'm confused.
If you aren’t in the industry, it can be confusing. In a situation like this, if you are uncertain or have questions, call the Office or go to our website.
5.When the water came back on, our pipes vibrated and made a lot of groaning noises? Is that normal? What can we do to prevent damaging our pipes from air in the pipes?
Groaning and vibration of pipes is normal and occurs because air gets into the water lines when there is a main break. To clear the air from your water lines, we recommend you open a non-screened faucet such as the cold water of your bathtub of an outside faucet. Let it run for about 10 minutes. The benefit of using a non-screened faucet is that particulate that vibrates off of the inner lining of your plumbing as air moves through it can more easily be cleared from the line.
6.We have hot water pipes in our floors for heating. Do pipe breaks pose any special problems for us?
If installed to code, you should not have to worry about this type and use of water lines. Code requires Backflow Preventers on these systems.
7.I heard that downstream of pipe breaks there could be contaminants from back flow in the lines upstream. That sounds hazardous. What can we do to prevent that? Why not turn off all the upstream meters? I thought we had a required back flow prevention program.
Corbett Water District does have a Backflow Prevention Program that identifies potential hazards related to contaminants getting into the water system. However, there are gray areas in the law related to backflow prevention requirements. Bottomline, if everyone had an installed backflow preventer, downstream contamination would not be an issue but not everyone is required so there is an inherent danger or risk of water contamination from upstream sources.
Corbett Water District is concerned with this potential and vigilantly work to mitigate it as we are able to enforce. For example, in the recent main break, we flushed the line by locating a hydrant in a strategic location to release any contaminants. In our rural setting, we are mostly concerned with microbiological contaminants.
We sample our water in such instances and send it to a lab for testing, and then work with Oregon Health Authority to get the ok to lift the boil water notice.
Finally, we recommend running your water for 10 minutes once the boil water notice has been lifted.
8.What are the best procedures to use at home when our water comes back on? (Flushing the line, unscreened etc.)
See questions 5 & 7 but in short, using an unscreened faucet, run your water for 10 minutes.
Please call our office 503-695-2284 if you have any additional questions.