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Posted on: November 1, 2023

Commissioners' Corner (Issue 208)


It seems like you can’t pick up a newspaper, watch the evening news, or view an online news feed without seeing a story about some location in the country that is having serious problems with access to clean water. Fortunately, people who receive water from Lakehaven or the City of Tacoma don’t have to worry about the quality of the water coming out of their taps.

A number of years ago, Lakehaven partnered with Tacoma, the City of Kent and the Covington Water District to build a pipeline and filtration plant below the Howard Hanson Dam to provide a long-term supply of clean water from the Green River. This water supply augments the water that Lakehaven gets from wells scattered throughout our service area.

There are issues facing some areas of the country that Lakehaven customers don’t have to be concerned with. As far as we know, there are no lead service lines within the District service area. Some cities, such as Chicago, mandated lead service lines many years ago before the dangers associated with lead pipes was known. The danger of lead service lines is now well known and thus are not used anymore. Chicago still has many thousands of lines potentially impacting human health that need to be replaced at great expense.

In 2014, in an effort to save money, the City of Flint, Michigan switched from Detroit’s water system to water from the Flint River. Unfortunately, the water was not properly tested or treated, which caused numerous health issues for residents of the city. Lakehaven constantly tests and treats the water as needed to ensure that what comes out of your tap is safe to use.

Residents of Selah, near the Yakima Firing Range, are living with wells that have been contaminated with PFAS and other chemicals. The Army has started to install filtering systems in houses to render the water safe to use.

We are working on a project that will help ensure an adequate supply of water for growth in the region and mitigate the impacts of less rain/snow pack in the mountains from changing weather patterns. The project, called OASIS, will capture excess river flows during the wet months and pump it underground to recharge the aquifers for use in the dry summer months. At the same time this water is being “banked” for future use, the flows in the river will be monitored to ensure that fish and other animals will not be negatively impacted by diverting the water.

Lakehaven is proud that the water we provide meets or exceeds all state and federal guidelines for drinking water. The latest water quality report is available on our website. Those of you who receive water from Tacoma can find their report on the City website.

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