Updates on Moab water contamination issue
Sep 01, 2017 | 1974 views | 0 0 comments | 123 123 recommendations | email to a friend | print
UPDATE

Moab city officials are working closely with the Southeast Utah Department of Health to determine the chemical and biological makeup of blue-colored contaminated liquid that saturated the ground surrounding a fire hydrant on 400 North at the Entrada construction site.

The problem was discovered at approximately 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 31 by a city public works employee who was reading the water meter connected to the hydrant, which is providing water to the construction company at the site.

The Health Department is conducting two kinds of analysis — bacteriological and chemical — on the water collected from the site and from water lines in the adjoining area.

Bacteriological test results of the area affected should be completed by 7 p.m. tonight, Friday, Sept. 1.

Health department officials said chemical test is a little more complicated. The contamination site was sampled Thursday, samples arrived at the lab in the Salt Lake City area on Friday morning, and city and health department officials are hoping for an expedited analysis. This will identify what exactly was in the contaminant -- it could be benign material, or it could be toxic. Once that is known, the health department will decide whether it is necessary to test the water in the affected area for the identified contaminants and will do so immediately.

The upshot is that the bottled water order could last for a few more days. City and health officials are constrained by whether the testing labs are open over the weekend and/or able to test samples quickly.

According to city public works officials, the blue-colored contaminated water was dumped from an RV parked on the construction site and used by an employee of the Roger Knight construction company. The dumped water pooled around the base of the fire hydrant, and the soil in that area was saturated to a depth of approximately 10 feet, all the way to the underground base of the fire hydrant. A public works crew spent much of Thursday afternoon excavating and removing the contaminated soil and ultimately hauled away 40 cubic yards of wet soil.

Because of how the hydrant was operated, officials said the volume of contaminated water dumped at the site created the potential for some of that water to make its way into the city water lines that are connected to that hydrant, thereby posing a threat to the residential areas served by those specific lines. For that reason, and because the Health Department and City do not yet know what chemicals or other contaminants were in the blue water, a “bottled water only” order was issued Thursday to residents who live in the affected area.

Health Department officials said showering, bathing and washing dishes with tap water poses no health risk. However, people should avoid ingesting the tap water and pets should also not drink the water. If washing dishes with the tap water, health officials advise to allow the dishes to completely air dry.

The city of Moab will continue to station a truck at the old hospital parking lot, 719 West 400 North, throughout the weekend (from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily) to provide clean culinary water to residents in the affected areas. Please bring your own clean water containers to fill.

As more information becomes available today, the city will relay those details to the community.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE

The Moab City Water Department has a water truck in place at 719 West 400 North (formerly Allen Memorial Hospital) to provide clean culinary water to anyone who needs it in the areas affected by the possible water contamination on Moab's west side.

Please bring your own clean water containers to fill.

The water truck will also be available at the same location on Friday, Sept. 1 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Further updates will be issued as they become available at: www.moabcity.org and on the city's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/cityofmoab.

***

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE

The Moab City Water Department will provide free sanitary, culinary water beginning at 3:30 p.m. today at 719 West 400 North (formerly Allen Memorial Hospital).

Please bring your own clean water containers to fill.

***

BREAKING NEWS

DRINKING WATER CONTAMINATION ORDER

The City of Moab, in conjunction with the Southeast Utah Health Department, has issued a notice of potentially contaminated water and put into effect a “bottled water only” order in some neighborhoods on Moab’s west side.

The notice affects residents of 400 North, west of 500 West and includes all of the Grand Oasis mobile home park, residents on West Hale Drive west of Alberta Court, and residents of Stewart Lane, Apple Lane and River Sands Road and River Sands Drive and Portal Vista Loop in the Portal Vista Subdivision, as well as any homes located west of 500 West on 400 North extending to the city’s sewer treatment plant.

For the next 48 hours, beginning at noon on Thursday, residents in these affected areas are advised to use only bottled water until the order is lifted. Please refer to the attached map of affected areas.

According to Moab City Public Works officials, the potential contamination occurred at a water hydrant located on the construction site of the Entrada housing development adjacent to 400 North.

City officials said it appears that chemicals and black water from a recreational vehicle parked at the construction site was dumped onto the ground at the hydrant and has potentially seeped into the water lines connected to the hydrant.

The Moab Times-Independent will provide citizens with updates as additional information is available.

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