Warm Springs water system suffers two new failures

June 20, 2019
Warm Springs water system suffers two new failures

Pressure relief valve, 8-inch water pipe fail just as workers repair broken main line

By Jackson Hogan 

About an hour after a section of pipe under Shitike Creek was repaired Wednesday, which would’ve helped end Warm Springs’ weeks-long boil water notice, two more failures occurred in the reservation’s water system.

That means Warm Springs will be on a boil water notice “for awhile,” according to tribal leaders, and two neighborhoods might run out of water soon.

“It was really frustrating for our team to get this far, but then not get water back online, like we were so optimistic about,” said Alyssa Macy, chief operations officer for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Warm Springs has been on a boil water notice since May 30, affecting schools, medical facilities, homes and businesses in the community of 3,800 people.

According to Macy, a pressure release valve failed in Warm Springs on Wednesday afternoon, which completely drained the southeast reservoir. Although two reservoirs it connects to — Greeley Heights and West Hills — were not drained, they each had less than a day’s worth of water as of Thursday afternoon, Macy said. Warm Springs tribal staffers are looking to see how much water is left.

The other break occurred about the same time Wednesday in an 8-inch water pipe north of Shitike Creek.

In order to get Warm Springs’ water system running again, both problems need to be fixed, Macy said. Tribal staff hopes to repair them by Friday, she said.

However, the boil water notice will stay in place for awhile, Macy said.

She said tribal staff will take at least a couple weeks to find out if there are other faulty pressure relief valves throughout the reservation and replace them. Until those are repaired, the boil water notice will remain in effect.

Macy said the constant water line breaks, which have caused four boil water notices in the past six months, are a result of an overpressurized and aging water system in Warm Springs.

Water outages will continue in Warm Springs’ downtown area, also known as the Campus area, as well as the Miller Heights neighborhood. Macy said Warm Springs staff will continue to have drinking water, showers and gray water in the Campus area, and the tribes have placed more than 90 portable toilets throughout the reservation.

— Reporter: 541-617-7854, jhogan@bendbulletin.com

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An aerial view of a body of water.