Tuesday, August 20, 2013
MABTON – In an effort to improve the city’s water supply and to accommodate the opening of Mabton schools, Mabton city officials, along with the state Department of Health has approved the opening of city well #3.
Well # 3, which has a history of high levels of nitrates, under normal circumstances is used only in emergency situations, explained Mabton Public Works Supervisor Chris Morris.
Last Tuesday, the Mabton City Council approved the rental of water coolers to provide drinking water at the schools during the ongoing water shortage emergency, but in order to flush school toilets more water pressure is necessary, said Morris, in explaining the reason for putting well #3 on line.
Morris said well #3 water will be carefully monitored for spikes in the state-allowed nitrate levels. “The water will then be blended with the water from the city’s well #5 to increase water pressure,” Morris explained.
City water users have been relying on well #5 for its water supply during the current water shortage.
“Right now, well #3 is testing well below the dangerous nitrate thresholds,” Morris said.
“We are testing daily and will close well #3 as soon as well #4 is back on line,” he said.
Mabton, which has been on emergency water rations since mid-July, is in the process of repairing well #4, which is the main supplier of water to the community of just over 1,000 residents. If all tests to determine if the repairs are complete and the water flow tests come back positive, well #4 should be back on line in a matter of days, said Morris.
With school starting tomorrow (Wednesday), city officials have been worried about the extra burden on the city’s already compromised water system.
Morris said the use of well #3 will aid in improving the city water pressure, which will be a benefit for the schools’ toilets and showers which all “…operate on a highly pressurized system.”
Morris cautioned that Mabton residents should continue to practice good conservation methods. He thanked the community for its understanding of the current situation.
“It should only last a few more days,” he said.
‑ Julia Hart can be contacted at 509-837-4500, or email JHart@DailySunNews.com