Excessive coliform levels detected in the North Bay drinking water


The following is an update to the July 22nd notice that LMC sent out for Olympic Water and Sewer regarding excessive coliform levels detected in the North Bay drinking water. 

August 3, 2015 Update  



August 3 Report

Good Morning – the samples taken Friday are also “NO coliform“. We have discontinued chlorination and the chlorine should soon dissipate and the water returning to normal.   We will be doing additional sampling later this week but are confident that this episode is behind us.

July 31 Report

All – the sample results from yesterday are “clean“. NO total coliform detected. Additional samples went to the lab today. We are going to continue the chlorination through the weekend and take more samples Monday.

If LMC members have questions about water quality in the North Bay please contact Larry Smith or Greg Rae of Olympic Water and Sewer.


 From: Larry Smith [mailto:LSmith@portludlowassociates.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, July 28, 2015 5:50 PM
Subject: Coliform update 7/28

Sampling did not happen today as hoped. Chlorine still not at target levels. Will try again tomorrow.



From: Larry Smith [mailto:LSmith@portludlowassociates.com] 
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2015 3:45 PM
Subject: Update on Coliform

We had hoped to take follow up water quality samples today (Monday) but unfortunately the chlorine hadn’t fully circulated in the system. The operations crew is working to run water from fire hydrants to pull the chlorinated water throughout the affected area. If this is successful we will be doing follow up sampling on Tuesday or Wednesday and will have the sample results back from the lab the following day.




July 21, 2015


OLYMPIC WATER & SEWER, INC. Water System, I.D. 68700L, located in Jefferson County submitted routine drinking water samples to a certified laboratory for the month of July 2015 for total coliform analysis.

The test results indicated that there was Total Coliform bacteria present in the sample but no fecal or E. Coli. The sample was taken from a routine sample station at 563 Pioneer Drive. Because of the configuration of the water pipes, we are confident that the only properties potentially affected are above (north and west) Oak Bay Road.

Since only Total Coliform has been detected, there is no immediate health risk to our customers.  If an immediate health risk had existed, you would have been notified right away. However, as a precaution the Washington State Department of Health has recommend that if you are currently taking chemotherapy, undergoing kidney dialysis, or have an immune deficiency you may want boil water. Total Coliforms are common in the environment and are generally not harmful themselves, however any indication of contamination is thoroughly investigated.

The following investigation and follow up actions are being taken in consultation with Washington State Department of Health:

All of the wells and storage reservoirs that serve the area were tested for total coliforms. The samples from the wells were negative, however the reservoir near Swansonville Rd. and Rainier Lane (in the LMC trailer storage yard) tested positive as well as the followup sample from the original sampling area on Pioneer Drive.

While we continue our investigation we have decided that the most efficient way to cure the problem is through a light chlorination. Beginning Wednesday, July 22 we will be feeding a small amount of chlorine which will possibly become apparent at the customer taps. We will continue this for up to two weeks, or until all of our follow up samples show that the problem has been corrected.

While we strive to deliver the highest quality water possible to our customers, unfortunately situations such as this do occur periodically in a non-chlorinated system. Thank you for your understanding and patience. Please do not hesitate to call us with questions.

Sincerely,                                                                                                                             Larry Smith, Vice President                                     Greg Rae, Operations Supervisor   (360) 437-2101                                                        (360) 437-7898                           Email: owsi@portludlowassociates.com

The following is mandatory language required by the Environmental Protection Agency in these situations. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets water standards and has determined that the presence of total coliforms is a possible health concern. Total coliforms are common in the environment and are generally not harmful themselves. The presence of these bacteria in drinking water, however, generally is a result of a problem with water treatment or the pipes which distribute the water, and indicates that the water may be contaminated with organisms that can cause disease. Disease symptoms may include diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and possibly jaundice, and any associated headaches and fatigue. These symptoms, however, are not just associated with the disease causing organisms in drinking water, but may also be caused by a number of other factors other than your drinking water. EPA has set an enforceable drinking water standard for total coliforms to reduce the risk of these adverse health effects. Drinking water which meets this standard is usually not associated with a health risk from disease-causing bacteria and should be considered safe.



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