UPDATE 7/17/16 6:15 p.m.
An unknown problem with the transmission line from the Haines Borough’s main water source prompted water restrictions on a hot Sunday.
As of Sunday evening, borough water customers are to limit water use to essential purposes only. Dangerously low water tank levels caused by a transmission line problem at Lily Lake prompted the restriction.
Public works staff are turning the water treatment plant back on after spending the day trying to make repairs to a faulty transmission line connected to Lily Lake. But the borough is still urging customers to be extremely conservative with water use.
Public Facilities Director Brad Ryan says the borough is ‘making limited water’ to bring the levels up in storage tanks that have been drawn very low. The dwindling levels caused discoloration of some municipal customers’ water because of sediment at the bottom of the tanks.
Public Works staff do not know what is causing problems with water flow in the Lily Lake transmission line. Ryan says they have been turning the water plant on and off to try to get rid of the possible air lock or other blockage, to no avail.
Borough staff are in contact with an engineer about the problem and are still working to resolve it.
A borough notice said residents should refrain from using water for activities like washing cars, filling pools, and watering lawns or gardens.
Ryan added that people should stay off of Lily Lake Road because of the large trucks and equipment that are there because of the water issues.
Haines Borough staff are trying to figure out the cause behind a problem with the transmission line that supplies water from Lily Lake to the borough’s water treatment plant.
Lily Lake is the borough’s main water source. Public Facilities Director Brad Ryan says it appears there is an air lock or obstruction cutting off the water supply from the lake.
“It seems to be something went funny with our water line feeding the plant, and we don’t know what it is,” Ryan said early Sunday afternoon.
The transmission problem has caused water tank levels to drain ‘very low,’ Ryan says. That’s why some municipal water customers are reporting brown water flowing from their taps.
“It got down low in the tank where a lot of sediment is at,” Ryan said. “So while there’s not really anything wrong with it, it doesn’t taste good and it’s unpleasant to drink.”
The Borough posted a notice on its Facebook page Sunday morning telling customers to let their water run until it turns clear. A few hours later, another update asked the community to conserve water.
Ryan says the reason they want people to conserve water is because of the low tank levels.
“Don’t use your water right now if you can help it.”
Ryan says the borough has had problems with the water system’s pressure for a couple weeks. But things got ‘more severe’ Saturday night. He says public works employees have been up all night trying to resolve the issue.
He says the plan now is to shut off the Lily Lake transmission line and try to clear it of the apparent obstruction that is causing the problem.
This story will be updated as we receive new information.