Quakes leave water district ‘relatively’ unscathed

Quakes leave water district  ‘relatively’ unscathedBy BRIAN COSNER, News Review Staff Writer

“We came through relatively unscathed … we didn’t lose water service to anybody and there was no contamination” announced Indian Wells Valley Water District General Manager Don Zdeba during the district’s regular meeting on July 8.

Zdeba lauded the water district employees and maintenance crew for their zealous response to the disaster.

“They checked all of the facilities and infrastructure, made sure eveything was working and responded to calls of service being out,” he said. “I’m sure their homes were in disarray, but they came in and did their jobs as all first responders and emergency personnel do.”

While the water system remained intact, the district did experience some obstacles as the days went on and the aftershocks continued.

The district released an announcement on Tuesday saying it was beginning to see “earthquake-related issues” with the system and was down to six out of 10 working wells.

“With the high demand of summer use, we are close to stressing the system,” said the release. “Be cognizant of your landscape watering and limit it to the extent necessary and postpone draining/refilling swimming pools.”

According to Zdeba, district staff noted between $4-5 million in damages, which were inspected and documented by Federal Emergency Management Agency and Office of Emergency Services personnel.

“Considering the magnitude of the seismic events, we are extremely fortunate to have maintained service,” said Zdeba.

The district also dispelled rumors that water sources had been contaminated with arsenic. Apparently a backwash waste tank failure resulted in yellowish water entering the district’s system to the alarm of some customers. Within hours, the failing treatment facility was taken out of the system, the water flushed, and the contaminant level reduced to within safety standards.

For questions about water supply or quality, call the Water District office at 760-375-5086.

Story First Published: 2019-07-19