Water Outage and Loss of Pressure in System 

Nespelem Water Department Water System (ID# 59000 Q) – Okanogan County 


On June 9th, 2020, the well pump failed to start when the reservoir level dropped, resulting in a loss of water pressure. This loss of pressure created the possibility for contamination due to backflow. We will not be able to verify the safety of the drinking water until repairs have been completed and additional water testing has been performed. This is likely to take several days. As a result, the Department of Health recommends that customers boil their water before drinking during this time. 

What should I do? 

  • DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring the water to a rolling boil for one minute. When it cools, refrigerate the water in clean covered containers. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling kills bacteria and other organisms in the water. 
  • • When a loss of pressure occurs, it is possible that contamination from the environment or from human or animal waste may be drawn into the water system. Organisms in these wastes include bacteria, viruses, and parasites which can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. People with severely compromised immune systems, infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. 
  • • The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water but also by other factors. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. 

What happened? What is being done? 

The primary well pump failed to start and the reservoir drained. A pump service company will be brought in as quickly as possible to diagnose the problem and complete repairs. The state Department of Health was notified of the outage. Although there was no indication that any contamination occurred in other parts of the system, follow-up water samples will be collected as soon as possible to ensure that the system is clean. 

The state and federal drinking water regulations require a precautionary boil water notice until follow-up samples can be taken to confirm that there is no contamination in the system. We will inform you when the samples are completed and when you no longer need to boil your water. 

For more information, please contact Douglas Hale, Alpine Environmental at (509) 322-0581 or (509) 826-1653. General guidelines on ways to lessen the risk of infection by microbes are available from the EPA Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1 (800) 426-4791. 

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

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