Sept. 16, 2020 — For nearly two months, Mapleton area residents have been advised to boil all water obtained from city sources for drinking and cooking, impacting residents on a daily basis regarding how they cook, drink water and shower.
Frankie Tipton, a resident of Mapleton, said she and her family have not had access to potable water for weeks. According to Tipton, the only notification her family received regarding the situation was a brief phone call from Mapleton Water District (MWD) at the beginning of August which simply said, “Don’t drink the water. Boil it before using.”
“That was all the information we were given. There was no explanation of the problem. And we still don’t have drinkable water, after six weeks. We have had no response at all from the district manager and no response from the water district,” Tipton said. “We have left several phone calls with no return calls. Our community has many small children, older people and some with compromised immune systems.
“I just want to know, when will we be able to drink water again?”
Residents have reported little communication or guidance from MWD since August.
The growing concern and frustration over the lack of clean water for Mapleton residents was addressed this past Monday by the MWD Board of Directors in an open letter posted online from the district to the Mapleton community.
“In an attempt to become more transparent keeping our residents more informed, the MWD Board of Directors felt we needed to update our community as to the status of our water situation,” the letter read. “First and foremost, we want you to know we are working diligently to provide you with safe (potable) drinking water. Secondly, the ultimate goal is to make the new system as efficient as possible to alleviate future issues and to provide the public with clean, healthy, good-tasting drinking water.”
The letter went on to explain the numerous reasons for the problem, which the board said initially stemmed from two major power outages that caused the district’s plant filter to fail.
It was that failure that prompted the original August “Boil Notice” from the water district.
After multiple attempts to reach MWD Superintendent Terry Saubert in the past month, Siuslaw News was able to speak with him by phone Tuesday, during which he explained that the district’s biggest challenge in finding a solution has been in acquiring a temporary water storage tank — also known as a water skid — that could be used to filter water from Berkshire Creek.
“For the size we need, we are in a tough spot because they make larger ones and smaller ones — but the size we need isn’t as easy to find,” said Saubert.
He added that the wildfire activity throughout the state has also made finding water skids like the kind the district needs even more difficult.
According to Saubert, engineers were on the site Tuesday, and the hope is to receive a tank from Utah sometime in the…