New details on unsafe water warning in Des Moines

by: David Ham Updated:

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KING COUNTY, Wash. - Residents in parts of Des Moines and Normandy Park will have to continue boiling their tap water due to an E. coli contamination, officials said shortly after noon Monday.

An official with the King County Department of Health informed KIRO 7 that customers may have to boil their water until Thursday. 

“We're continuing to do some testing and we're continuing to purge the system and we will have more information in the next 36 hours. Whether we need to continue the boil water advisory or if we can lift that,” said Vic Pennington, Water District 54 Commissioner.

About 5,000 customers of King County Water District 54 remained under a boil advisory,three days after E. coli bacteria contamination was discovered in the district's system.

Water officials are still trying to find out what caused the contamination, and said the bacteria could have even come from dirty testing equipment 

“It's a whole host of possibilities so it's kinda hard to really narrow it down,” said Pennington.

 On Saturday night, notices went out to Water District 54 customers that E. coli had turned up in the water supply. Those bacteria, which are found in raw sewage, can make infected persons extremely sick. Some strains have caused fatalities in past cases.

“I have a friend who had e coli and she was very very concerned about it,” said Ginny Kettunen, who stopped by the Water District headquarters to pick up free supplies of bottled water on Monday. 

Amazon Fresh delivered bottled water to Des Moines Elementary School, the only public school in the affected area. The school was open, but staff brought bottled water, hand sanitizer and cold lunches from offsite.

Over the weekend, the water district announced plans to flush the pipes with high concentrations of chlorine, then with fresh water, and test again to see if the bacteria are gone. The Department of Health says was inspecting the system with water district staff to look for the source of contamination.

The DOH told all food establishments inside the affected area to suspend operations. 

Katy Lauritsen owns Auntie Irene’s Coffee Shop and said she’s trying to stay productive while her store is closed. 

“I’m using this time to clean the best I can. I can still use Chlorox wipes and wipe down and deep clean the lobby,” Lauritsen added, the time closed is still a financial burden for any business. 

“It’s just a burden to the whole community. We're all feeling it every single one of us the water district customers every business around here.” 

Follow this link for a map of the Des Moines water district.

 

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