Lake Whatcom Water Sewer District

Announcements

Boil Water Advisory

October 10, 2017

A spill has created a potential health risk to residents that withdraw their drinking water directly from Lake Whatcom without treatment.  Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District and the Whatcom County Health Department strongly recommend that residents who draw their drinking water directly from Lake Whatcom to bring their water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute before consuming until further notice.  (The District will issue a subsequent notice when the boil water advisory is rescinded, which has typically been 5 to 7 days after a spill.)  Drinking water customers of Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District or the City of Bellingham do NOT need to boil their water.

Details:

Friday afternoon (October 6, 2017) at 346pm Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District received a call from a citizen that wastewater was entering the roadside ditch from Beaver Sewer Pump Station near 2271 Lake Louise Road, Bellingham, WA 98229. District crews responded immediately and shut down the 12” sewer force main by redirecting flow to another sewer force main, stopping the leak.  The estimated volume of wastewater spilled into the roadside ditch is 45,000 gallons.  It appears there was a sufficient volume of wastewater to saturate the ground allowing some of it to trickle into Beaver Creek.  Beaver Creek discharges to Austin Creek, and Austin Creek into Lake Whatcom.

The leak appears to be the result of an HDPE fused pipe joint coming apart at the discharge side of Beaver Sewer Pump Station.  The District is in the process of procuring parts to make a permanent repair.  Until the permanent repair is made, the District will continue redirecting flow to another sewer force main. No further leaks or spills are anticipated.

This spill has created a potential health risk to residents that withdraw their drinking water directly from Lake Whatcom without treatment.  Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District and the Whatcom County Health Department strongly recommend that residents who draw their drinking water directly from Lake Whatcom to bring their water to a rolling boil for at least 1 minute before consuming until further notice.  (The District will issue a subsequent notice when the boil water advisory is rescinded, which has typically been 5 to 7 days after a spill.)  Drinking water customers of Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District or the City of Bellingham do NOT need to boil their water.

All surface waters and shallow wells can contain pathogenic bacteria at any time.  Accordingly, the District and the Whatcom County Health Department also strongly recommend that anyone withdrawing water from Lake Whatcom through a private system treat their water at all times.  Minimum treatment should include disinfection to kill potential pathogenic bacteria.

For any additional information, please contact Patrick Sorensen, General Manager 360-734-9224 (after 5:00 p.m. 360-296-4578).