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State tells Concrete to chlorinate its water

Skagit Valley Herald - 11/30/2022

Nov. 29—CONCRETE — The state Department of Health is requiring the town of Concrete to chlorinate its water after months of unsatisfactory samples and one positive test for E. coli.

Water samples have been testing positive for total coliform, an indicator that there might be a risk of waterborne disease. However, until Nov. 18 the tests never showed anything worse, such as E. coli.

One of five water samples taken Nov. 18 tested positive for E. coli, which led the Department of Health to issue a boil water advisory that is still in effect.

During Monday's Town council meeting, Ryan Wynn, vice president of operations for Water and Wastewater Services, said five samples were taken again after the positive E. coli test, but none was positive for E. coli.

However, because of three months of unsatisfactory samples, the Department of Health is mandating chlorination, Wynn said during the meeting.

The boil water advisory will remain in effect until a chlorination system can be installed.

Wynn said during the meeting a temporary chlorination system is being installed and more tests will be taken this week. If those tests come back clean, then the advisory will be lifted.

Before a permanent chlorination system can be put in, power will need to be added to the spring box site to run the pumps for the chlorine, Wynn said during the meeting.

"We're working hard at this," Mayor Marla Reed said. "We don't want to chlorinate."

Water and Wastewater Services has been attempting to find the source of the total coliform since August.

Wynn said during the meeting that the issue might be caused by stagnating water.

Several operational issues have been fixed, such as overflowing reservoirs, the spring box allowing air into the system causing air in the lines, and about five closed valves.

This week the three water tanks are being cleaned.

"It seems like every day we find something new," Public Works Director Terry Coggins said.

During the meeting it was brought up if the town could look into a rate reduction for water while residents are unable to drink their water and various businesses have shut down, not wanting to risk infecting a customer with E. coli.

Council member Rob Thomas asked town attorney David Day to look into if that would be possible.

There was a miscommunication Monday between council members and those attending the meeting.

After Wynn fielded questions about the water, many of those in attendance thought there would be a separate time to ask the council questions regarding the water. However, the council thought all water-related questions had been answered and later ended the meeting.

Resident John Boggs pointed out to the council that there were questions the council could answer that Water and Wastewater Services could not — for example, finding a more efficient way to notify residents when something like this happens.

The town went door to door delivering the boil water advisory.

It is expected the residents' concerns will be brought up at the next council meeting.

— Reporter Racquel Muncy:, 360-416-2139, Twitter: @Racquel_SVH


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