Warm Springs Tribal Council approved an emergency disaster declaration this morning (Friday, May 31, 2019) due to immediate health threats resulting from a 14” water main line break in the Shitike Creek. In a Press Release The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs stated that Tribal staff, state and Federal partners are working to determine next steps to repair the main line crossing which will take up to a week or longer and will result in a loss of water to most of the Warm Springs Agency area. The declaration provides an option to the Tribe to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster funds to help with the repair and impacts to the community and local businesses.
The Tribe issued a Boil Water Notice on Thursday, May 30th, due to a loss of pressure in the distribution system. This is the fourth boil water notice in the last six months due to low pressure issues. It has been determined that the main line break is located in the Shitike Creek beyond the location where three previous repairs have been completed. Failing pressure reducing valves in the distribution system are also compounding the issues at the Shitike Creek crossing.
All businesses and residences south of Highway 26 will experience total water outages which are anticipated to start early next week. The loss of water will have a direct impact on the Warm Springs K-8 Academy, Indian Health Service Warm Springs Health & Wellness Center, Early Childhood Education Center, High Lookee Lodge, Senior Center, Warm Springs Detention Facility, Boys & Girls Club, Museum at Warm Springs, Indian Head Casino, Warm Springs Composites, tribal buildings, local businesses and residences.
When a total water outage occurs affected residents should turn off your water heater. Any time water is not running for more than 24 hours, it is best to turn off your electric water heater by going to your circuit breaker box and throwing the breaker marked “water heater” to the “off” position. Once water pressure is restored, you can turn on the hot water at any faucet and check that all the air is out of the lines. Once the air is gone and water is running smoothly, turn the breaker back on.
The boil water notice will remain in effect until further notice for the entirety of the Warm Springs Agency area including Kah-nee-ta, Wolfe Point, Sunnyside, Upper Dry Creek, Miller Heights, Campus Area, West Hills, Tenino Valley, Tenino Apartments, Elliott Heights, Senior Housing, Trailer Courts, and Greeley Heights.
The Tribe has implemented their Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) to coordinate repair and services to the community.
As a result of the water main break in the Warm Springs Agency Area, and in coordination with the indian Health Service Portland Area Office and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, the Warm Springs Health and Wellness Center has declared a state of emergency for the facility. As of today (Friday, May 31, 2019) the clinic will remain open with all services operating on the normal schedule.
The clinic administration is coordinating with local resources and the Portland Area to ensure that services remain accessible to the community and that operations are as normal as possible during this time. Some services such as dental may be more limited due to the water situation and the clinic will update the community regularly and as soon as information is availalbe about what types of limitations may occur.
Drinking Water Distribution is taking place at the old Warm Springs Elementary School Library today until 6pm and again this weekend – both Saturday and Sunday 10am – 3pm.
Warm Springs Early Childhood Education will remain closed until the Boil Water Order is lifted.
The Jefferson County 509j school district reports that the Warm Springs K-8 Academy will be open next week for their regular school hours and have plans in place to operate with the Boil Water Order and with or without running water.