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Distribution System Water Quality Issue (Salinity): Updated 12/5/2022 at 2:00 pm

In an ongoing effort to provide updates to the SRWD community, the district would like to advise our customers that proposed improvements to raw water quality monitoring equipment have been completed.  After consultation with engineers and instrumentation technicians, the following water quality monitoring equipment has been placed in service.   

Preventive Measures:

1.      District staff working with instrumentation technicians successfully recalibrated the existing in-line conductivity probe at the Raw Water Pump Station.  

2.      District Water Treatment Plant (WTP) Operators working with engineers obtained two new conductivity probes. One of these probes has been installed and calibrated at the Raw Water Intake Pump Station to provide redundancy.

3.      Along with the redundant probes at the intake pump station the district has installed a third conductivity probe located on the finish water system at the water treatment plant.

4.      Target conductivity limits have been reset to 200 uS/cm or 128 total dissolved solids (TDS) and will automatically shut down the pump station and alarm the operator if raw water reaches proposed limits.  

5.      Using projections provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) district staff will continue to implement Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for monitoring annual tide conditions and accompanying sea swells with the expectation that the Raw Water Intake will be taken offline in advance of projected 9.5-FT tides.

Proposed measures along with standard operating procedures for monitoring raw water conditions affected by tides, sea swells, and precipitation will serve to eliminate salinity from entering the system in the future.

With these safeguards in place the district will begin processing water from the Beaver Creek source the week of December 5th. Because this change in source water will take a few days, customers may notice a slight difference in the taste of water over time. However, the TDS which contributes to taste and odor will be very similar to what is currently being recorded in the system now.

Please feel free to reach out to the district if you have any concerns regarding your water quality. 



Updated 11/4/2022 at 12:20 pm

In an ongoing effort to provide updates to the SRWD community, the District has completed flushing to restore water quality.  Customers experiencing taste and odor in the water will need to flush their plumbing for 5 to 10 minutes on average. If conditions persist after thoroughly flushing, please contact the district and we will have an operator visit your property and sample water quality.

While the district continues to evaluate the cause of the failed testing equipment at the intake site, contributing factors leading up to this event were being monitored with the understanding that at set conductivity levels the treatment process would be suspended until water quality improves. Generally, water quality on Beaver creek improves within a few hours, to a few days and the treatment process can begin again without disruption of service to our customers. The district's distribution system is designed to store water for our community for up to 10-days. In the event that the raw water quality does not improve (whether it be from conductivity, turbidity, or some other water quality issue) the district would switch to a secondary source.

Proposed preventive measures being considered by the district and engineers include, but are not limited to the following:

1.      District staff and engineers are working with HACH technicians to recalibrate or replace the existing inline conductivity probe.  

2.      District WTP Operators are working with engineers to design/install a secondary conductivity probe located in the creek to be used as redundancy and verification of calibration.

3.      District staff is also working with engineers to design/install a third salinity probe located at the WTP on the finished water system before it leaves the plant to monitor TDS before water is sent to the first customer.

Proposed measures along with standard operating procedures for monitoring raw water quality affected by tidal influence and environment, to include tides, sea swales, wind waves, and precipitation will serve to eliminate salinity from entering the system in the future. Until the proposed measures are securely in place the district will remain on our secondary source.

The district would like to apologize once again for the inconvenience this issue has created for our customers and thank you for your patience as we continue to resolve this issue.

Please see below for past updates.


Updated 11/3/2022 at 12:30 pm

We recently discovered that the instrument (in-line conductivity probe) at the Beaver Creek Intake which measures/records salinity in the raw-water was not functioning properly and is likely out of calibration. However, we learned this after the system had brought in a slug of salinity at levels thought to be acceptable at the time.

The intake was designed to operate at conductivity levels of 500 uS/cm, but not more than 600. Last Thursday, October 27th, just before reaching 500 uS/cm during a high tide and 15ft sea-swale event, operators shut down the system. This Tuesday, November 1st, the district began receiving water quality complaints from customers complaining that the water has a chlorine and salty taste. After evaluating/troubleshooting the conductivity probe it was discovered that the probe may not be positioned correctly, and/or is out of calibration. As a result, the lion share of the distribution system will have to be flushed to correct this issue.

Because recent high tides and increased sea swales continue to persist and elevate conductivity at the Intake, District operations staff are in the process of switching to our secondary sources of water to begin effectively flushing the distribution system. The district will likely run on a secondary source until conductivity clears at the intake, and more importantly, instrumentation can be calibrated correctly.

District staff are scheduled to meet with District Engineers to develop a process of controls that includes alarming operators to shut the intake down at 100 uS/cm to ensure that salinity does not enter the treatment process in the future.

Water samples obtained by District operators continue to present levels in the drinking water system below the maximum contaminant level for salinity. Because this condition is isolated to a localized condition that is under control the water will pass through the system without impact to plumbing fixtures or appliances.

Because this condition is isolated to a localized area, flushing should be completed before the end of the day today (11/3/2022). We would like to ask customers to please flush their lines at their property by turning a faucet on for a few minutes later this evening or tomorrow.

Please see the following links regarding sodium in water from the EPA.

EPA Drinking Water Advisory Consumer Acceptability Advice and Health Effects Analysis on Sodium.pdfEPA Contaminant Candidate List Regulatory Determination Support Document for Sodium.pdf