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Wednesday, November 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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‘I have no water at all’: Residents do their best to get by with bottled water after Hillyard water tainted

UPDATED: Mon., July 29, 2019

City water department workers stationed at the U.S. Post Office at 4401 N. Freya St. with 40 pallets of bottled water bought at Costco had given out about 12 1/2 pallets out as of Saturday afternoon, which amounts to about 19,200 bottles, according to one worker. (Will Campbell/SR)
City water department workers stationed at the U.S. Post Office at 4401 N. Freya St. with 40 pallets of bottled water bought at Costco had given out about 12 1/2 pallets out as of Saturday afternoon, which amounts to about 19,200 bottles, according to one worker. (Will Campbell/SR)

Residents in the Hillyard neighborhood were stuck dealing with tainted water on Saturday by using bottled water provided by the city for everything from washing dishes to filling up dog bowls.

City water department workers stationed at the U.S. Post Office at 4401 N. Freya St. with 40 pallets of bottled water bought at Costco had given out about 12 1/2 pallets out as of Saturday afternoon, which amounts to about 19,200 bottles, according to one worker.

They will continue to distribute the water from the post office every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the city declares the water safe to drink, which could take up to a week.

While the tainted water is not suitable for drinking, the city told citizens that it can be used for bathing, washing and irrigating.

But some residents say their water pressure is gone and they are unable to do everything from wash dishes to take a shower.

“I have no water at all,” said Markus Hogencamp. “It clogged up our lines.”

Hogencamp noticed the problem Friday, when he found mulch resembling SOS pads coming out of the water meter, he said.

His hose still has water pressure, and he uses it to fill up the toilet, he said.

“You can see stuff floating in it,” he said. “It looks like little fibers.”

Dixie Buchanan picked up her third case of water on Saturday, after having to drive to her mother’s house to shower because she has no water pressure.

She drank from the tap yesterday before learning about the tainted water, but didn’t get sick, she said.

“I’m grateful for the water they’re getting us,” she said.

The city suspects that the contaminated water came from a commercial hydroseed vehicle that used the city’s fire hydrants on Friday and allowed water contaminated with mulch and fertilizer to back-flow into the city’s water supply.

The water affected fewer than 300 buildings within Wellesley Avenue, Freya Street, Crown Avenue and Havana Street, according to the city.

The city has reported the problem to the Washington state Department of Health.

Dorothy Tibbetts, the department’s regional manager, said Friday no illnesses had been reported but that if residents are feeling sick to tell their their physician.

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