I would like to give everyone perspective on the water advisory that was issued yesterday, what caused it, and why we have taken these steps.
First, I want to acknowledge that this event has had a significant impact on many of you. I understand and sympathize with the inconvenience and perhaps, concern, that this has caused many people. We take our responsibilities to provide you with clean water very seriously, and as of yesterday we have instituted a policy of visually inspecting every tank daily. We have identified long term solutions to improve water security. This includes surveillance and advance notification systems.
Before I touch on other details, I would like you to do me a favor. Share the following information with EVERYONE you know. Eagle Mountain City has an email notification system which will send timely information directly to your email whenever there is an event of any significance. If you have subscribed and for some reason are not receiving emails, please contact our public information director, Linda Peterson, at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the easiest way for us as a City to disseminate information to the public quickly. You can sign up HERE. If you would like to email the link to a friend, it is: http://bit.ly/1xxKM7y.
It is always a challenge to get information out to everyone, and I can tell you that our staff works very hard to keep residents informed. We do a good job of using every available avenue to get residents information in a timely manner. This does not mean that we can’t improve. We are always looking for ways to improve our ability to notify every resident.
I have been greatly encouraged that so many of you as residents have not waited for a government solution. I know that neighbors were very active in distributing information to each other to get the word out. I encourage each of you to continue looking out for one another! Thank you for being a community that cares about each other.
We are currently waiting for a State certified water testing laboratory to analyze the water and provide us results. We should have the results this evening around 6:00 PM. Because of the nature of the testing process, there is no faster way to get results back. We have obtained field testing equipment, and we are now analyzing water samples for various indicators such as PH, total solids, and conductivity. The introduction of contaminants into a water system typically results in the altered chemistry and or physical characteristics of the water. These tests will provide early indicators which will help us to assess the likelihood of any contamination ahead of the official lab results.
I would like to give you some insight about the water tank, and the risk of contamination from this event. The chain link fence surrounding one of our tanks was compromised and the lock latch on the water tank access hatch was cut. When the breach was identified, the water tank was filling, which means water was flowing into the tank and not out to the system. We took action to isolate the tank immediately, though that does not mean that the tank wasn’t accessed during a time where the water was flowing out of the tank. It had been several days since the last visual inspection of the tank. While there is not yet any physical evidence that a contaminant was introduced, we firmly believe that we as government do not have any right to make health decisions for your family by withholding information. We realize there is a great impact from distributing a water advisory, and it is a serious matter. We recognize that residents, schools, and businesses alike are greatly affected by such advisories. We felt because it was obvious that someone had gained access to the system, notifying the public was the only option.
While we have a policy of inspecting each of our well houses daily, prior to yesterday the visual inspection policy for our tanks was not as rigid. This is because our well pump houses are located in areas where they are easily accessed by vehicle or foot, whereas our water tanks are mostly located in areas that require a greater degree of effort to get to. Both well pump houses and water tanks have been kept locked and in most cases, behind a gate. Following the commission of this crime, we have already implemented a policy of 100% daily visual inspection of all tanks. We will act with urgency to resolve any weaknesses through additional security measures. That is my commitment to you. As always, please feel free to leave a response to this post and I will do my best to answer any additional questions you may have.