Tag Archives: water

Stream bugs offer clues to health of Bainbridge waters

Caddisfly casings cling to a rock pulled from Bainbridge’s Cooper Creek on Wednesday. (Below) a frog keeps a wary eye on its surroundings. (Tad Sooter photos)

When fly fishermen approach a stream they watch for a few familiar bugs. A flurry of mayflies, caddisflies or stoneflies tell an experienced angler what food fish are rising for.

When water quality specialists approach a stream they look for the same insects for different reasons. To the trained eye, those water-dwelling macro invertebrates offer clues to the overall health of a creek.

I received a crash course on stream bugs Wednesday as I tagged along with volunteers from the city’s Water Quality and Flow Monitoring Program, in preparation for a story on the city’s State of the Island’s Waters report, which was released with little fanfare earlier this summer.

Five years of data gathered from all 12 Bainbridge watersheds and around the island’s shoreline went into the report. It’s the first comprehensive study of island water health the city has completed. The report confirmed that many island streams still struggle with high levels of harmful bacteria and nutrients, and low dissolved oxygen.

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South Bainbridge water advisory ends

A health advisory for customers of Emerald Heights Water Inc. on Bainbridge Island was called off Tuesday afternoon, after lab tests confirmed the water is safe to drink.

The state Department of Health issued the advisory after a water main broke Friday while workers were installing a new chlorination device. It was possible that the water became contaminated before the break was repaired, so officials issued the warning and disinfected the system.

The advisory affected 79 homes in the Emerald Heights and Deer Ridge subdivisions, as well as a few homes along Opal Ridge Road.

Emerald Heights customers who have questions about their water may call (206) 780-7850.

Water contamination alert for part of south Bainbridge

A break in a water line in the Emerald Heights Water System on Bainbridge Island has triggered a health advisory that calls for 79 water customers to drink bottled water or boil their water before drinking.

The advisory affects customers in the Emerald Heights and Deer Ridge subdivisions plus a few homes along Opal Ridge Road, all near Lynnwood at the south end of the island.

The break occurred while workers were installing a new chlorination device in the water system, according to Caroline Cox of the state Department of Health.

It is likely that the water became contaminated before the break could be repaired, she said, so the entire system is being disinfected. Residents may notice a cloudy appearance in their water.

It is fine to bathe or shower with the water while the health advisory is in place, Cox said, but the water should not be used for drinking by people or pets if there’s a strong chlorine odor or taste. Avoiding putting the water in aquariums until the chlorine odor goes away.

If there is no obvious chlorine, the water can be boiled for one minute then used for drinking, brushing teeth and cooking, Cox said. The advisory is expected to last several days.

For information, customers may call (206) 780-7850.

Groundwater supply declining, study says

Islanders may want to keep a closer tab on their taps.

A city-commissioned study indicates that the island’s finite water supply is declining in some areas.

The island’s deepest groundwater supplier, the Fletcher Bay aquifer, showed some of study’s steepest declines, especially in the Eagledale and Sands Road areas. Linked in recent years to high-capacity wells, the aquifer meets about 30 percent of the growing population’s water needs. Another large portion of the island’s water supply is generated by several small wells linked to a sea level aquifer, which in recent years has had instances of saltwater intrusion due to over-pumping.

Bainbridge’s water supply has become a top concern for residents, dominating community priority surveys and City Council campaigns.  Despite widespread public interest, the island has lacked a comprehensive analysis of whether it can satisfy its increasing thirst.

“There’s a lot of concern on the part of Bainbridge citizens about the state of their aquifers and what they can do about it,” said Joseph Lubischer, an engineer who helped lead the study for Bainbridge-based Aspect Consulting.

While the study’s limited scope prevents it from offering definitive answers, it does indicate that the concerns were well-founded.

“The last 20 years have seen some big, deep wells go in,” Lubischer said. “So, we’ve seen some changes recently, and we have a limited amount (of water).”

Of particular interest is Island Utilities Well 1, which supplies much of the Eagledale neighborhood on Eagle Harbor’s south shore. The high-capacity well registered the study’s steepest drop, declining from about 40 feet in 1988 to 25 feet last year.

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Sand pit’s stop work order upheld

The city hearing examiner denied an appeal this week by a local development company forced to halt work on a 4-acre sand pit operation on the island’s south end.

In her decision, Hearing Examiner Margaret Klockars affirmed the city’s late June decision to halt the operation at the intersection of Fletcher Bay and Lynwood Center roads for violating land use permit rules and possibly endangering the largely residential area’s underground water supply.

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