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Boil order lifted for White Bird; water back on

Fire hyrdant may be factor in system problem

White Bird

Photo by David Rauzi
White Bird



— Water is again flowing for White Bird residents who had been without since disruption late last month due to infrastructure issues.

From here, the city is looking toward system improvements, as well as to funding sources to help with the thousands of dollars in related emergency costs.

A boil order for system users was lifted Tuesday morning, Dec. 12, according to Idaho DEQ, as water tests have shown no coliform contamination for two consecutive days.

As well, city hall still has bottled water available for residents.

“We have water,” said city clerk Sandy Murphy, restored last Thursday, Dec 7, after service had been stopped to 76 system users due to diminished capacity first detected Nov. 24 and worsening through the Thanksgiving weekend. When service resumed, Murphy said she informed residents door-to-door, noting a boil order remained in effect, and advised users to go easy on the system as city staff monitored pumps to ensure levels were holding.

A problem with a city fire hydrant is a suspected factor in this problem, according to Murphy, that has been isolated from the system.

Multiple issues were suspected to have caused system problems including diminished capacity from the two municipal wells, excessive water use during the holiday weekend and recent seismic activity.

Currently, the city is seeking funding assistance from Idaho DEQ and EPA to assist with costs incurred – estimated at more than $16,000 at this point – from emergency expenditures including water purchase, and bringing in potable tanker trucks and porta-potties. Murphy said those costs don’t include such items as water testing and labor.

In response to the water shortage, both the city and Idaho County approved disaster declarations that could open funding to assist with 50 percent of incurred costs and remediation efforts. An issue here is a disaster declaration, issued Monday, Dec. 11 by Governor Butch Otter, on the incident that would provide assistance for costs from Dec. 6 and forward, which Murphy said most of their expenses were incurred from Nov. 27 to Dec. 5. On extending that assistance to apply for those days, she said the city is receiving help from Idaho County Disaster Management coordinator Jerry Zumalt.

“We are grateful to the State of Idaho for providing assistance and expertise,” stated Zumalt in the release, “as we work to determine the cause of the depressurization and restore the community’s water supply.”

“The community has been really supportive through all this,” Murphy said. Everyone has been wonderful,” with support from individuals, businesses and other public entities pitching in to assist the city during their emergency. “It’s really nice to be in this community. They know how to take care of themselves.”

City residents with questions can contact city hall: 208-839-2294, WhiteBirdCity@outlook.com .



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