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Friday Harbor water woes continue, Town crew checking all meters

JANUARY 2, 2022 Message from Duncan Wilson, Town of Friday Harbor Administrator. A significant number of water line breaks within the Town of Friday Harbor are causing an emergency situation. The breaks are slowly draining the normal reserves and the water plant is unable to keep up with losses from these leaks.

To the best of our knowledge about 95% of the leaks are occurring on private property. We have not located any major breaks in the town distribution lines that bring the water to Town or that distribute the water out to our properties.

Until we can locate and shut off all of the meters at homes and businesses that are experiencing problems this situation will continue to worsen. Town Water crews are going meter to meter to try and identify where the losses are occurring. We are asking that you conserve water to the maximum amount that you can so we can avoid widespread water shut offs.

Unfortunately, the water levels in the town tanks continue to deteriorate and we are nearing a point where we will have to conduct forced shutdowns until we can recover. No one likes even considering this option but we have to retain enough water in the system so that we have emergency fire flow. Please take the following actions at this time:

Use only the bare minimum water that you need

Search around your house, inside and out for signs of a water leak turn off all the water in your house and check to see if your water meter is still turning. Your water meter should be located at the edge of your property near the street or sidewalk. Remove the lid. You may want to take a flashlight with you. Look at the gauge and see if it continues to spin.

If so, you can contact the Town at 360.378-2810. If there is no answer, please call the Sheriff's non-emergency line at 360.378-4151.

We have found another five leaks in the last 12 hours. The water crew is going meter to meter looking for unusual activity. This is impacting homes and businesses. The Town may need to commence overnight shutdowns if we are unable to halt the drawdown. Thank you for your continued assistance.

JANUARY 1, 2022 Message from Duncan Wilson, Town of Friday Harbor Administrator. We have not yet been able to bring the water tank levels back up to needed levels which is causing pressure problems system-wide. While dozens of leaks have been identified and meters shut off we are certain that there are dozens more that have yet to be found or have not yet shown themselves.

As we begin to thaw out we hope that new leaks can be identified and meters shut down. We may have to impose limited water shutdowns in areas of Town to try and refill the tanks. A decision will be made later today (January 1) of where such action would be effective.

In the interim, we encourage folks to check inside their own homes and around the exterior of your homes to look for signs of leaks. Please check around your neighbor's property, especially those that may be out of town. Report any findings to the Town at 360 378 2810. We have staff at Town Hall working today to take your calls. if you do not get an answer call the Sheriff's non-emergency line at 360 378 4151.

The entire town water crew is out working today as well. The water plant is producing water as quickly as possible to keep up with the demands but with leakage on private properties, we have been unable to keep up.

We are aware of the low-pressure issues at the manufactured home park. Even before the freeze, there were many leak issues there. Only one meter feeds all of the homes there. Since the freeze, a large number of new breaks have occurred and we have notified the park manager. The lack of insulation on the pipes in the park has made the problem even more difficult. We believe that this freeze has been worse because of the strong winds from the north that brought the frigid air.

We are sensitive to the difficulties that everyone is having and we are trying to find solutions to your issues. PLEASE CONTINUE TO CONSERVE WATER AND MINIMIZE YOUR USE! If you need to come to town hall we are here into the late afternoon. We will provide more information as we receive it. This one is going to take a village, so thank you for watching out for those around you. The water crew has been working non-stop so please be patient and kind.

Duncan Wilson, Town of Friday Harbor Administrator

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