Water Dist. 54 customers near Des Moines, Normandy Park urged to boil water

The Washington State Department of Health urged King County Water District 54 customers near Normandy Park and Des Moines to boil their tap water because potentially harmful E. coli bacteria were detected in the water.

More than 5,000 customers from South 212th Street to the Kent-Des Moines Road and eastward from Puget Sound to 14th Avenue are affected; here’s a map (click image to see larger version):


The Washington State Department of Health released the following bulletin on Saturday:

The state Department of Health urges customers of King County Water District 54 to boil their tap water because potentially harmful E. coli bacteria were detected in the water.

The advisory affects more than 5,000 customers in Southwest King County. The district extends southward from South 212th Street to the Kent-Des Moines Road and eastward from Puget Sound to 14th Avenue. The district includes parts of the cities of Des Moines and Normandy Park.

E. coli bacteria can cause gastrointestinal illness. To kill the bacteria, customers should boil the tap water they use for drinking, brushing teeth, preparing food, making ice and washing dishes. Bring water to a brisk boil for one minute and allow it to cool before use.

All food establishments such as restaurants, coffee shops, delis, and school kitchens within the affected boundaries should suspend operations until the boil water advisory is lifted. Grocery stores that only sell pre-packaged foods are not advised to suspend operations.

The water district staff will disinfect the system with chlorine and flush the chlorine out of the water lines, then collect more water samples. On Monday, a state Department of Health engineer will inspect the system with water district staff to look for the source of contamination.

“The safety of our customers is our top priority,” said King County Water District 54 Superintendent Eric Clarke. “We’re working closely with the state to resolve this problem as quickly as possible.”

The boil-water advisory will remain in effect until the Department of Health and water district staff is satisfied the water meets safe drinking water standards.

Customers who have questions about their water quality can call the water district, 206-878-7210.


34 Responses to “Water Dist. 54 customers near Des Moines, Normandy Park urged to boil water”
  1. H2O Lover says:

    Are you kidding me? This is the same Water District who always fought entry into the 21st Century, telling rate payers that low bills, no work, and the same ole same ole was all they would ever need. For goodness sake. Here comes the price. Wash your hands and clean your plumbing. Please pray for the businesses and restaurants who will see their reputations take a big hit all because WD 54 should have been dissolved and merged with another more capable entity. Sad and dangerous. No snarky responses on this blog please. Public health and safety are at risk here. If this occurred in the center of Seattle, this would be on CNN, CBS, all the other networks, but probably not FOX, because that’s what most of the idiots who vote for no maintenance, no improvements, no pay as you go in this world love to watch.

    • DM Resident says:

      For someone who wants “no snarky” responses you probably should’ve left off the last sentence of your response. I happen to watch FOX News and couldn’t agree with you more until you got to that part of the statement. The City should take over WD 54 and then sell it off to a reputable water district!!!

    • HS says:

      Instead of snarky maybe you should have you used ignorant and pointed the comment to yourself. Most water districts treat their water with chlorine because of the source which it originates. Lakehaven Utility District, which used to have aquifers as its sole source, did not treat their water with chlorine until they started blending their water with a surface water source from Tacoma. I lived within the Lakehaven Utility District from 1990 to 2000 and here in Des Moines from 2001 to present and this is the first problem I know of, if it is indeed a problem. The water is excellent and it does not taste like you dipped your glass in a swimming pool. They found ecoli traces present in one sample out of several and they don’t even know where the ecoli came from. Meaning that it may have not come from the water. This has absolutely nothing to do with politics or FOX News. Maybe do some research before you make pathetically ignorant comments. Thank GOD only a few people read this blog.

      • Pat Nardo says:

        Every once in awhile, someone speaks with logic, restraint, and common sense. As a conservative, myself, I find it refreshing to know that “blame” is not a solution and my sentiments are shared. Thank you for your observations.

      • Scott Schaefer says:

        HS thanks for your comment.

        Wanted to clarify something – more than “a few people” read this blog: our August, 2013 readership was 7,589, according to Google Analytics.

        This # was down from our average of around 10,360, but August is typically a low month due to it being summer.

        In the last 30 days though we’ve had 14,006 Unique Readers.

        We do believe we’re the most-read news source for Des Moines, WA too.

        Thanks again for reading,
        Scott Schaefer

      • concerned says:

        You customers of Water District 54 need to do your research, maybe look at the DOH Website called SENTRY at https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/eh/portal/odw/si/SingleSystemViews/GenInfoSingleSys.aspx?OrgNum=39950&xid=61134&OrgName=KING+COUNTY+WATER+DISTRICT+%2354 and you can keep up with your water system. Also in this day an age with the potential environmental and deliberate contaminations that could occur, not chlorinating your water could be potentialy dangerous. And more than likely E-coli is a result of the heavy rain fall that flushed surface contaminants into the source water. Not the result of poor sample procedures, you would have to place fecal matter in the bottle on purpose. VERY UNLIKELY. This is just the start of the indications that your water system will in teh future continue to have these problems, and the pathway for the contaminants can again enter your system if corrective action is not taken. Good Luck!

    • Craig Patrick Ramirez says:

      I would just like to know when I can make my grandsons breakfast w/out feeling like we’re camping I don’t understand How this can be happening In 2013 Really? get rid of these souped up police cars and fancy suv’s and get back to REAL business Fiscal spending? Ring any bells? Normandy Park has spent foolishly for far to long SO…STOP IT! and pay more attention to what really matters …NOT BOILING WATER! JESUS Wha?

  2. Holly Fulk says:

    Ok I am not happy about how I found out about this… I go to the bank downtown and see that all the businesses were closed.. so I go home and search google to find out what is going on. I have been sick for almost two months with gastrointestinal illness and this is how I am informed of this… Why the heck didnt the water district email or post warnings on front doors. Something!

    • H says:

      I was just wondering if residents knew other than coming upon it by chance on the internet or something. Not everyone goes on the internet. So how have they let residents know?

      • j says:

        I received a recorded call on my phone ( land line ) on Saturday explaining what was going on.

      • Mary P says:

        I called the distict and was shunned for being livid about the lack of communication. They said the news report was good enough. I asked what about people who dont watch local news, dont have a TV, or cable or work during broadcadt times? They said its not thier fault if you choose to cut yourself off from the world… I asked what about condo and apartment residents who dont pay an individual bill (so no # on file to get a robo call?) they laughed at me. Im pretty sure they violated some state or fed regulation for reporting e coli contamination to residents.

  3. Muddhaa says:

    What a sad little world you live in if all you can do is blame Fox News and their viewer’s for water contamination..Maybe you can get Oblama to intimidate them for you? Wait, nobody’s afraid of Oblama worldwide..Maybe you can draw a red line near Salty’s and tell them you won’t allow any ecoli past this point?

  4. Jason says:

    This is the trade off we make for not having our water polluted with additives supposedly for our Heath. I for one love water district 54’s policies about water treatment.
    Did you know people with austistic kids drive hours to get water here? Did you know the health of water has been wonderful for years without any boil orders?

    I hope this small preventive boil order doesn’t mean our water will be publicly poisened from now on. People in cities across the country are begging for their water to be treated like ours. Just look at the fight in Austin,Tx, Portland, Or & thousands others.
    Jason Morton
    DM & Water district Resident since 1971

  5. Pat Nardo says:

    For some strange reason, I have had a bad case of “trots” and have been unable to attribute this to any food or drink. So, just in case, we are boiling our water as well until the “all clear”. We need not be unkind to our water providers here; just thankful that they informed us albeit a little late. Boiling water seems to be working too.

    • MaryF says:

      I, too, have had a bad case of the ‘trots’ for three days and could not attribute it to anything. Now I know. Poor communication on the water district’s part. This is a nice reminder of what we need to do in emergencies. Look after one another.

      • concerned says:

        You need to remember that this E-coli showed up in one sample. That does not mean that if the district had taken samples earlier and maybe taken 10 more samples at the same time that it wouldn’t have showed up in others. You can’t write of the fact that it only showed up in one sample. Your water system only takes a total of 6 samples per month, and that is not very many, and the likelyhood of finding E-coli when it was first in the system could take over a month depending on the last sample schedule. I can only stress to those how assume your water is safe to put more effort in your education of your water system, and not rely on just stating the water has tasted great for the last 40 or 50 years. That is claiming ignorance, and is like assuming that your car is going to be safe to drive every day because it allways has and you have never completed any maintenance on it, until one day it it breaks down or worst yet you have an accident. You people who have had stomach issues, it is likely the result of this situation. Those concerned are the smart ones, those not are the same people that site back and think everything is going to be ok, the government will take care of because I don’t want to be bothered!!! This little incident is going to cost us all in the insurance work. Thank you.

  6. dan says:

    Wow. Talk about lack of communication. Was wondering why the water facets in the marina were turned off. Neighbor behind us found out from trying to going to a restaurant and the neighbors in front from friends that saw it on television. We watched the King 5 news early this morning and heard nothing. I found out from a email from the Des Moines Yacht Club. Went to grab a case of water at the office and I was told there was a mass call put out by the Fire Dept. did anyone get a call? We did not.

  7. Erin says:

    Horrible and unaccepted communication on behalf of the water district. I just found out from my neighbor after giving my kids and animals the water. Why was there not a phone call to each of the homes that is effected by this? Now I have an idea why my small child has had the runs for the past few days. Geez.

    • MaryF says:

      komonews.com reports that the water district said there were no reports of people getting sick. I reported it and was told I probably had the flu. Everyone that was ill needs to make a formal complaint.

      I called my neighbors and went door to door to tell them, especially the elderly and one on chemo.

      • t-t says:

        Ive been having the runs for a few weeks now, on and off. I feel like this has been going on for longer but is just now coming out. This is sad that it is just now being caught. We were all informed late and are not getting updates. I have to find out all my info from our local corner store. That’s BAD. Allot of people are in fact sick from it already its just not being reported.

  8. happy1 says:

    I am very upset at the lack of communication on part of the Water District and city. There is NO excuse for an area known inhabited by a large elderly population to not have a mass notice issued immediately. I found out from a Highline SD robocall around 4pm on Sunday. We better be glad this wasn’t an incident of terrorism because now we all know just how a contaminated water supply emergency would be handled. I read two news sources repeatedly throughout the day and not one mentioned the e.coli advisory. Since I am severely immunocompromised I only use sterile water for consumption but now I am going to spend the next week wondering if this is going to interefere with my health or have it passed to me through others who have contracted it. Many people don’t wash hands and diarrhea is messy. I pray everyone stays well!

  9. happy1 says:

    Also noted, how many residents also have an update on the length of the advisory? Last I heard was at least Wednesday? This is sad we can’t rely upon the source to inform us.

    • MaryF says:

      Haven’t had a robo call. Nothing. I heard from a restaurant it would be Thursday. How about an electronic reader board downtown? They do it for the fireworks and parade.

  10. H says:

    So they’re going to comp their water bill then? Especially with the poor communication job?

  11. Pat Nardo says:

    Someone is blaming O”Bummer for all of this and I don’t see the connection. I am reminded of my basic training, where we had to make do in the morning with one canteen full of water. Remembering to ,fist, brush your teeth with a few drops and then the rest of you with what was left, leaving just enough for thirst. This was like going back in time and we certainly hope we don’t lose any “elderly”, especially me!

  12. John Nielsen says:

    So much for saving the fish!

  13. Mary Pendleton says:

    Were you planning on notifying the residents in any way other than relying on the news? Where is a detailed district map? I’ve been drinking tap water all weekend with no idea I was in danger, if I am, I DON’T KNOW BECAUSE I CAN’T FIND A DETAILED MAP!

  14. Concerned Citizen says:

    This is just a political move to get the water district sold to a private party.

  15. kYLE says:

    Very poor communication, I rent a condo and had to find out about it this through word of mouth at the ABC store. The city could have done a way better job of notifying its citizens of an issue

  16. Kay says:

    What about the customers at restaurants that now have the trots??

    I do not live in the Des Moines area that is affected, but when a family member came to the area for a visit, we did eat at 3 different Des Moines restaurants just before the annoucement regarding the water and then the closure of the restaurants.

    Guess I should send a bill to the water department for the sick days from work that I’ve needed to take to recuperate!!

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