As of Tuesday, December 5, 2017
WHITE BIRD Drinking water is hoped to return to White Bird residents later this week, who have been without since system problems developed during the Thanksgiving weekend.
“Hopefully by Thursday it will be up and running,” said White Bird Mayor Homer Brown, and the city can next address issues leading to the shutdown that affected 76 system users.
County commission declares disaster
At its Tuesday, Dec. 5, meeting, the Idaho County Commission approved a declaration of local disaster for the ongoing White Bird municipal water delivery system failure. The declaration opens up access to available state funding to address repairs and mitigation efforts to address the situation.
In its formal request for state assistance, the city stated it is costing the municipality more than $2,900 per day for water and immediate supplies, not including labor.
As of press time Tuesday morning, water was being delivered to the city’s two reservoirs, the lines were to be pressurized and additional testing to be done. The system will then receive a chlorine flush. Brown advised residents to leave their water meters off while testing is done.
City officials have a better idea this week on problems that included diminished capacity from their two municipal wells, leaks were found in some fire hydrants, and use of water during the holiday weekend put an excessive demand on the system. Also, in a Dec. 4 city request for state assistance, it is speculated seismic activity documented in the area Nov. 24-30 may be a contributing factor. To examine the wells issue, Brown said Stuivenga Vessey Drilling will be brought in.
Meanwhile, White Bird remains on a boil order, and residents have access to both potable and non-potable water at city hall, according to city clerk Sandy Murphy. For information, contact city hall: 208-839-2294, WhiteBirdCity@outlook.com .
“We’re thankful for all the support the communities around here have had for us,” Brown said.
According to Murphy, pallets of water have been donated by several entities including Cash and Carry Foods, Idaho Beverage, North 40, Costco and the Idaho State Food Bank. Two pickle barrels were also borrowed from CHS/Primeland. The city has also purchased water, and has placed porta-potties through town.
Last week, in response to the water shortage, the city declared a state of emergency and activated the IdWARN system (a state-wide Water and Wastewater Agency Response Network). The City is working currently with IRWA (Idaho Rural Water Association), its engineers from Mountain Waterworks, Idaho County Disaster Management and several volunteers.