For Residents Who Draw Their Drinking Water Directly From Lake Whatcom
A wastewater system spill has created a potential health risk to residents who withdraw their drinking water directly from Lake Whatcom, especially those households without a disinfection treatment system. As a result, the Whatcom County Health Department and Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District strongly recommend that residents who draw their drinking water directly from Lake Whatcom bring their water to a rolling boil for at least one minute before consuming. For those households with a disinfection treatment system, it is recommended that the treatment system be inspected to ensure it is working properly.
Drinking water customers of Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District or the City of Bellingham do NOT need to boil their water.
On Monday (March 21, 2022) at 2:00 p.m., during routine weekly inspection of sewer lift stations, Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District staff identified a leak in a temporary line serving the North Point sewer lift station located adjacent to Lake Whatcom near 10 Clear Lake Court, Bellingham, WA 98229. The line is associated with temporary pumps that have been operating at the station since the dedicated pumps irreparably failed during the November 2021 flood event (replacement pumps were ordered in early December but have been delayed due to global supply chain issues). District crews responded immediately to replace the service line to eliminate the leak; however, it was determined that wastewater had flowed from the location of the leak into Lake Whatcom. The initial estimated order of magnitude volume of wastewater that overflowed is 10,000 gallons (the station was last inspected Thursday afternoon, March 17, 2022, with no leak observed at that time).
All surface waters and shallow wells can contain disease-causing viruses and 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 bacteria and viruses. For information about drinking water for homes who withdraw directly from the lake, contact Laurette Rasmussen at Whatcom County Health Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.778.6000.
The Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District encourages customers with questions to call 360.734.9224.