LAKE DRAWN WATER PUBLIC HEALTH ALERT

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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.

Monday morning (November 15, 2021) at 6:24 a.m. Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District was alerted by its telemetry control system that wastewater was overflowing at its North Point sewer lift station near 8 North Point Court, Bellingham, WA 98229 (Sudden Valley area) due to failure of both pumps at the station. District crews responded immediately with a contracted tanker truck to limit the volume of the release. The estimated volume of wastewater overflowed is unknown at the time of issuance of this alert. The North Point lift station is located adjacent to Lake Whatcom and wastewater was observed flowing into the lake.

Monday morning (November 15, 2021) at 10:05 a.m. Lake Whatcom personnel observed that the District’s sewage detention basin reached full capacity and began overflowing. Discharge is flowing across the Sudden Valley golf course towards Beaver Creek. The District has dispatched a tanker truck to pump sewage from the basin to limit the volume of the release.

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 lrasmuss@whatcomcounty.us or 360.778.6000.

The Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District encourages customers with questions to call 360.734.9224.

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