Boil Water Advisory – City of Idaho Falls
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Idaho Falls, ID – Due to a drop in water pressure, the City of Idaho Falls is issuing a boil water advisory for all properties located both north of Sunnyside Road AND west of Interstate 15, effective immediately. (This includes ALL properties north of Sunnyside Road, as well as ALL properties located west of Interstate 15. Refer to the map for a visual and to add clarity.)
The city’s Water Division routinely monitors the conditions in the drinking water distribution system. The morning of January 5, 2023 the city experienced a drop in water pressure below 20 psi due to mechanical issues at two of the city’s wells. Public water systems are required to maintain a minimum of 20 psi during emergency situations.
A drop in water pressure creates conditions that could allow contamination to enter the distribution system through backflow, by backpressure, or back-siphoning. As a result, there is an increased chance that the drinking water may contain disease-causing organisms.
“To clarify, there is no known contamination of the water system. This boil advisory is being issued out of an abundance of caution until water sampling can confirm that the water does not contain disease-causing organisms,” states Idaho Falls Water Superintendent, Dave Richards. “In anticipation of events such as these, we chlorinate our source water to protect water quality within the system,” adds Richards.
The timeframe in which the boil water advisory will be lifted is unknown at this time and depends on the results of the water sampling being done now. Water sampling, once submitted to the lab, typically take approximately 12 hours to complete. The city of Idaho Falls will issue another notice when property owners no longer need to boil water.
“The reason that the boil advisory is not needed for properties that are both south of Sunnyside Road AND east of Interstate 15 is that the elevation is lower in those areas and as a result pressures did not drop below 20 psi in the wells providing water to those areas,” explains Richards.
Refer to the map which provides a visual of the boil advisory area.
- DO NOT DRINK THE WATER WITHOUT BOILING IT FIRST. Bring all water to a boil. Let it boil for one minute and let it cool before using, or use bottled water. Boiled or bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice. Boiling water kills bacteria and other organisms in the water.
- You may continue to use your water to wash your hands using soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Inadequately treated water may contain disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites, which can cause nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches.
- The symptoms above are caused by many types of organisms. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers.
There are a total of 20 wells in the city of Idaho Falls; only three of those wells operate during winter months when irrigation is not needed to water lawns and fields.
When the mechanical issues occurred in two of the wells, water pressures within the boil advisory area dropped below 20 psi for a brief time. Within 20 minutes of being notified by the automated system that pressures had dropped, personnel from the Idaho Falls Water Division had normalized pressures and began the process of identifying the cause of the mechanical issues.
Shortly after normalizing the system, Public Works personnel notified the local office of Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) and began working on public notifications. According to the DEQ, the city has 24-hours to make public notifications after personnel are made aware of an issue in the system. Simultaneous with those efforts, personnel began sampling the water at city wells in accordance with DEQ guidelines.
“The system is up, pressurized, and functioning normally, however we are taking every precaution necessary needed to ensure that our water is safe to drink for our residents, including issuing this boil advisory. We are working diligently to identify the issue immediately and will take necessary measures to ensure that the mechanical issue does not happen again,” states Idaho Falls Public Works Director, Chris Fredericksen.
City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon states, “We make transparency and providing factual information a priority for our residents and will continue to keep the community informed and updated. We encourage residents to subscribe to our city notification systems to ensure that they are receiving accurate and timely information rather than relying on rumors and misinformation which oftentimes makes things more challenging for us when we’re focusing on resolving the issue promptly.”
Hammon adds, “We encourage the community to help us get the word out about the boil advisory by sharing public notices that come directly from the City of Idaho Falls notification systems, including our social media pages.”
To receive accurate information directly for the city of Idaho Falls, download the new City of Idaho Falls app or go to www.idahofalls.gov and click on the blue Stay Informed/Sign up button for other notification options.
For additional information about the boil water advisory call Idaho Falls Public Works at (208) 612-8250.
Media Contact: Public Information Officer, Kerry Hammon, (208) 612-8122 or [email protected]