The Warms Springs Water Treatment Plant is back online after an underground electrical fire disabled it on March 19. The reservation’s utilities department issued an emergency water conservation notice and deployed portable showers, toilets and bottled water while repairs were arranged.
Originally the utilities department expected that repairs could take up to two months, but the damage was not as severe as expected and the plant was back online by March 22. Since then, Warm Springs water users have been placed on an indefinite boil water notice to allow time for the water to flow and be tested by the environmental protection agency before it’s considered safe to drink, wash dishes, brush teeth or prepare food with, according to KWSO.
Boil notices are issued any time a water system is disrupted, and reservations Emergency Management Office will continue to distribute drinking water at its office from 9am-4pm until it’s deemed safe by the EPA, which is expected sometime within the next week. Warms Springs issued boil notices repeatedly over the last five years due to its aging water infrastructure.
Warm Springs’ could be due some change with $3.5 billion in funding from the Infrastructure Bill that could replace a water main, a collapsed sewer line and the water treatment plant, though projects can take years to complete.