The City of Newport needs your help! The city is experiencing a severe water crisis due to a problem at the Water Treatment Plant. It will take all of us, working together, to conserve water until a solution is found, and the Water Treatment Plant begins operating at its full capacity. The filters at the Water Treatment Plant are plugging. City staff has been analyzing the issue along with experts from the filter manufacturer and engineers. So far, the cause of the problem has been elusive. At this time, no one knows why the filters continue to plug almost immediately after cleaning.
Last week, city staff cleaned one of the filter racks with “Iron-Out.” This is a product that removes iron from the filters. The cleaning did not produce needed results. In consultation with the engineering firm that designed the Water Treatment Plant, the city utilized an acid wash on another of the filter racks. In this instance, the cleaning initially produced significant results – in fact, this rack was able to produce more water than the other racks combined. However, it was short-lived, and soon after the cleaning, it plugged again.
The City Council authorized the purchase of replacement filters for two of the racks. The cost for these replacement filters is $250,000. These filters are expected to arrive in Newport on July 2, 2020. It will take several days to install the replacements and perform necessary testing. And, there is no guarantee that these new filters will not plug unless, and until, the source of the clogging problem can be identified.
Another step the city has taken is the rental of mobile water processing units. The plan is to have two units that will arrive in Newport later this week. The mobile units will require additional engineering to allow them to produce potable water. The order of these units is a stopgap measure, and must be done to continue basic water production needs. The city is also purchasing water from the Seal Rock Water District. There is an inter-tie between the city system and the District’s system, and the city is fortunately able to obtain some water from this source. There is a limit as the District must also provide for its own customers.
Because of the city’s Water Treatment Plant to keep up with water demand, mandatory water restrictions were enacted. These water restrictions apply to all residents and businesses. The following water uses are prohibited in the City of Newport until further notice:
1. Use of irrigation systems for lawns, gardens, and landscaping is prohibited. Hand watering is allowed.
2. The outdoor washing of equipment, vehicles, pavement, or other facilities is prohibited unless required for public health or safety.
3. The filling of pools and spas (hot tubs) is prohibited.
4. The operation of fountains and waterfalls is prohibited.
5. The irrigation of public lands is prohibited.
6. The flushing of water lines and firefighting drills involving water consumption is prohibited.
7. Hotels/motels, restaurants, gyms, and similar businesses are required to post notices regarding mandatory conservation measures. The City of Newport has prepared a flyer for hotels and motels (see below). Contact Gloria Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org a copy of the flyer.
8. Commercial laundry should be consolidated and delayed to the extent possible.
All residents and businesses are required to fully participate in curtailing water use pursuant to the provisions noted above. Major water users such as fish processing plants have had to cease operation until the problem is resolved. Hotels and motels have been requested to share the city’s water restrictions with guests. As a result of this, all residents and businesses are required to adhere to these water restrictions. As soon as there is a resolution to this problem, and the city is producing water at a reasonable rate, these restrictions will be reviewed.
Throughout this process, the city’s main goal has been to continue to provide excellent drinking water for the community. Despite the problems at the Water Treatment Plant, the water being produced is of high quality and very safe for drinking. The City of Newport thanks its residents and businesses for working together to resolve this very serious situation.