Lewis County Public Works has issued a boil water advisory for Vader water.
Until further notice, Vader-area residents should only use boiled or bottled water for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth and food preparation.
According to Public Works Director Josh Metcalf, a pump in the Vader water facility broke on Sunday night. The boil water advisory will remain in effect until the pump is fixed and the treatment facility can be flushed.
Metcalf estimated the system will be “back online” near the end of day Tuesday.
Until then, Vader-area residents should only use water after it has been brought to a boil and boiled for three full minutes, according to the advisory statement.
The notice was issued through the Lewis County alerts system.
“The Vader water system is a surface water intake,” Metcalf said.
This means untreated water is drawn directly from the Cowlitz River. The facility then has two reservoirs, one full of treated water and one of “raw water,” Metcalf said, which is straight from the river. The raw water reservoir must be kept full in case of fires, so water must continue to be pumped from the river as it is drained.
The pump being broken means raw water is entering the treated water reservoir, therefore residents using the water are pulling water through their taps that has been contaminated by river water.
“So, there is raw water in the system,” Metcalf said.
High temperatures in boiling kill potentially harmful bacteria, viruses and parasites that could be found in the raw water, Metcalf said.
A company was at the facility replacing the pump on Monday afternoon. After it has been replaced, the system will have to be flushed before the boil water advisory will be lifted.
Lewis County has managed Vader water since 2010, though city electeds and candidates have many times weighed the idea of taking back control of the system. According to Lewis County Commissioner Sean Swope, the county earmarked $3 million worth of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for Vader water in the last two weeks.