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In September of 2013 we had a routine water sample that indicated the presence of e-coli in the water. Since then we have been injecting chlorine. The District has made many changes/improvements to how we are monitoring and testing our water.
King County Water District #54 is required to draw 6 routine water samples a month to check for the presence of coliform. These coliform tests are inexpensive and the presence of coliform in the water does not indicate that the water is unsafe to drink. If coliform is found in the water sample, further testing is done to determine harmful bacteria is present.
We have installed water sampling stations throughout the district. In the past we had always taken our water samples from homes or businesses. These are not ideal places to draw routine coliform samples from. We have also added a permanent chlorine injection system that helps us deliver a more consistent dosage of chlorine. Although this does not insinuate that we intend on continuing to chlorinate our water. This chlorine injection system was installed to provide an additional layer of protection for the customers of the system and will be used for possible emergency situations.
In addition we are improving our cross connection program. This means multi-family and businesses will need to install a reverse pressure backflow assembly (RPBA). This gives the District added protection from water that could flow in a reverse direction and could possibly have harmful contaminants.
We are hoping that by the end of 2015 that The Department of Health will allow us to turn the chlorinator off so that we may return to the unchlorinated water that our customers have overwhelmingly stated they prefer.