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Silverdale Water District absorbing smaller providers

In a few weeks the Silverdale Water District will finalize the agreements needed to acquire three local water systems along Olympic View Road.

The plan is to decommission Olympic Circle and Olympic View water systems and Old Bangor Water District No. 19. All the pipes, wells and reservoirs which form the Olympic Circle and Olympic View water systems will be abandoned. Olympic Circle’s buried reservoir, which “was identified as a chronic coliform contamination problem,” according to Silverdale Water’s grant proposal, will be filled in.

But the capital facilities of Old Bangor may be kept intact for emergency water supply because that facility is the farthest away, at the end of Olympic View Road, said Morgan Johnson, Silverdale Water’s general manager.

The process first began in 2004 when Silverdale Water applied for a grant from the Washington State Department of Health under the Water System Acquisition and Rehabilitation Program.

The program was put in place by the 2003 Legislature to help with acquisition and rehabilitation of water systems providing poor quality product to their subscribers.

“The quality at the Olympic Circle Water System is so poor,” Johnson said. “And they’ve had numerous violations.”

According to the grant proposal, in years past Olympic Circle, serving about 54 people through its 18 connections, has had troublesome levels of fecal bacteria, non-acute coliform bacteria, manganese and arsenic.

The proposal also notes that Old Bangor, serving about 120 people in 42 accounts connected to it, registered non-acute coliform violations in January 2003, May 2002 and December 2002.

Olympic View, with 20 connections and approximately 45 residents in its service area, was not listed with any violations in Silverdale Water’s grant write-up. It is, however, located between the other two water systems and thus included in the acquisition proposal.

Another trouble for the three water systems is that they are bordered by Hood Canal to the west and Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor to the east. According to Silverdale Water’s proposal, in the past activities on the base have contaminated area ground waters. Saltwater from the canal also has been identified as a risk.

The plan is to install 18,000 feet of water line and 79 water meters, connecting the three water systems to Silverdale Water’s system.

This week, Olympic Circle also was fingered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as one of only seven water systems in Washington to have not turned in a 2004 Consumer Confidence Report (CCR).

The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires systems to send the CCRs to their clients annually. The documents contain information on the source and quality of the water for the given year.

The 2004 CCRs were due last summer. Olympic Circle and six other systems state-wide have yet to submit to the Washington Department of Health a copy of their 2004 CCR and a certification report showing that the 2004 CCR was mailed to all of their clients. Two other Kitsap water systems also are part of that group, Bainbridge’s Bill Point and Poulsbo’s Country Meadows.

Debbie Johnson of Olympic Circle said Monday that the 2004 CCR from that system was mailed out to customers in 2005.

Eric Winiecki, Drinking Water Enforcement Program coordinator for the EPA, said that the agency and Debbie Johnson have been playing phone tag, attempting to resolve the discrepancy.

“EPA would be glad to learn that the Olympic Circle drinking water system customers have already received their 2004 report. If this is the case, it will be easy to comply with EPA’s order. She would need to fax a copy of the report to us, along with the required certification that it was mailed out,” Winiecki wrote in an e-mail interview Monday.

Notices to the state’s seven waters systems with outstanding 2004 CCRs were mailed on March 10, Winiecki said on the phone.

The EPA announced that water systems that fail to comply with the notice within 30 days after they receive it, may be subjected to fines as large as $32,500 per day.

Morgan Johnson said Silverdale Water is aware that the EPA has listed Olympic Circle as one of the seven systems.

If the report is still outstanding by the time Silverdale Water acquires the three systems, Morgan Johnson said, “we would work with the EPA. There’s no reason to continue providing the old reports if the system’s abandoned.”

However, if it turns out that the 2004 CCR was never mailed to Olympic Circle clients and if the EPA insists on supplying it, Silverdale Water would compile the report based on water quality tests from that year.

“There’s not much work involved with putting together the report,” Morgan Johnson said.

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