Water system break down causes city staff to turn on Tacoma Water

Bonney Lake opened its emergency water intertie with Tacoma Water Sunday afternoon for three hours after an electrical short shut off the city's water well pumps. The city used almost 2 million gallons of water from its storage towers before the malfunction was caught.

Public Works employees discovered an electrical short had shut off the system.

"With no pumps working, our water pressure dropped extremely low," Mayor Bob Young said. "Calls started coming in asking about low pressure, and when employees checked, the storage water towers were almost empty."

The emergency connection was opened for three hours, putting about 135,000 gallons of fluoridated water from Tacoma's system into Bonney Lake's water, which is not fluoridated. "This would mean that less than 1 percent of our water will be fluoridated," Young said. "We were able to confine the Tacoma Water to the Ponderosa 800 zone and tank, not the entire system."

The mayor authorized an emergency connection to be opened, citing emergency water needs as the basis for the water.

"We had very little fire-flow available in some areas. We had to do something." Young stated.

It was discovered that a light in the Public Work's shop shorted out, throwing the breaker and shutting power off to the water telemetry system. For some reason, the backup system also failed and the employee on call was never called nor notified of the problem.

"This is a fairly new telemetry system," Young said. " We are glad to find out these problems before we get into the summer months."

Usually the city would have the Ballpark Well system as an emergency backup, but that well has been shut down until the new filtering system is online next year.

Public Work's employees were working through the night to be sure that all systems are functioning correctly. The contractor for the telemetry system was scheduled to be on site first thing Monday morning to work on the back-up system.

Both Department of Health and Pierce County Health Departments were notified of the pressure drop. City crews took chlorine residual reading throughout the day, and will be taking water samples throughout the system Monday morning to ensure everything is normal.

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