People in Outlook can use their water once again - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

People in Outlook can use their water once again

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6-12-17 UPDATE:

OUTLOOK, WA - The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has completed its investigation into DeRuyter Brothers Dairy, one of the dairies involved in the flooding that affected the community of Outlook in late February. WSDA has determined that a berm breach resulting in the release of a large amount of water was an agricultural storm water event.

WSDA found no violations of the state’s dairy nutrient management act and the dairy involved was in compliance with its Confined Animal Feeding Operation permit. WSDA will not be taking any enforcement action against DeRuyter Brothers Dairy.

WSDA was first notified on March 1, 2017, that a berm surrounding a field belonging to DeRuyter Brothers Dairy had breached. The break sent water running off the field, across a road and through a neighboring field belonging to Snipes Dairy, where manure solids were being composted. That water then added to flooding already occurring in the Outlook community.

WSDA determined that the breach of the berm was not the result of human activity but due to severe weather conditions. DeRuyter Brothers Dairy immediately repaired the berm once the break was discovered and continued to monitor it in the following days to prevent any further discharge.

WSDA is continuing its investigation of Snipes Dairy. The results of that inspection are not expected before the end of the month.


03/10/17 UPDATE:

OUTLOOK, WA - The Department of Health says people in Outlook can use their tap water again.

Final test results came back this evening, and the public water system came back free of bacteria.

All private well results came back negative except one, which tested positive for E-Coli. 

The cause of the flood is still under investigation.


03/10/17 UPDATE:

OUTLOOK, WA - Imagine not being able to use the water from the faucets in your home. This has been the reality for residents of Outlook for over a week now.

Zenaida Perales and her family are one of many who've been affected.

"I don't want my nephew around because there's still a contamination," Perales said, "and we bathe him in that water and it's kind of bad because he has to go somewhere and there is more of a chance of him getting sick."

"Now to give you an idea of how dirty that water was, this is a clean bottle of water and this is a water collected on the first day of flooding," said Perales, holding up two very differently-colored bottles of water.

To help residents, different agencies are distributing two gallons of water to each household per day. In order for the water advisory to be lifted, the Department of Health must receive two clean samples from public and private wells.

Three tests have been done for the public water system. One came back negative and one came back positive. Two tests were done on private wells and one came back negative. The Department of Health is still waiting on final test results.

Meanwhile, the cause of the flood is still being investigated.


03/06/17 UPDATE:

OUTLOOK, WA - People in Outlook will have to wait a few more days to find out if their drinking water is safe to use.

Last week, the town of Outlook was flooded with manure-contaminated water. As a precaution, locals were urged not to use water from their faucets, in case it was contaminated with a harmful bacteria.

Tests are currently being conducted by different agencies, and the Washington State Department of Health says it is still waiting on results to show if the water tested negative or positive for the bacteria.

Once they get those results back, they will be doing a second round of testing to confirm the findings.


03/03/17 UPDATE:

OUTLOOK, WA - They thought the worst was over, but yesterday residents of Outlook were told their drinking water could be contaminated with harmful bacteria. 

"Right now we are just trying to work with it," said Rick Perales, an Outlook resident affected by the flooding. "We can't use bathrooms, we can't use the water, we can't use the water for nothing."

"For showering we have to go to other places," said Zenaida Perales, Rick's sister. "They told us not to be using it just in case of contamination in the water."

It all started early this week, when a levee broke at a nearby field owned by Deruyter Brothers Dairy. The water then made its way to another field that had just been fertilized, and then to the town of Outlook, flooding homes...including the Perales's.

"All of a sudden one day to the next, you're in a couple feet of water," said Zenaida. "It's ridiculous already what's going on."

The flooding was so bad that it even caused a sinkhole to form on the Perales's property.

"All of a sudden we just hear the ground collapsing, and there was maybe a hole about a foot and a half wide, about two feet deep," she said. "And just within hours, it just started getting bigger and bigger rapidly."

Reporter Gilbert Magallon reached out to Deruyter Brothers Dairy and was told they were confident that no manure or contaminated water left their property. They say it was storm water and snowmelt and that an investigation will show what failed.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture will continue water testing tomorrow. The water advisory is expected to stay in place all weekend.


03/02/17 UPDATE:

OUTLOOK, WA - The following is a drinking water alert from the Department of Health. The WSDA inspector has collected water samples that will be analyzed for bacterial content. The samples were taken from locations along the path of the water and spots both upstream and downstream of the immediate area of the breach. It is unclear whether drinking water in the community has been affected by this spill, which is why the water will be tested.

In the meantime, officials from Yakima County and WSDA will go door to door in the neighborhood this afternoon to share information about the drinking water alert. This will be followed up with additional communications once test results on the water are available.

"Due to recent flooding, the Outlook Community in Yakima County is currently using water with unknown quality.


"Bottled water should be used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation until further notice.

"Bacteria are a potential concern in this situation. Short-term effects from some bacteria include: diarrhea, cramps, nausea, headaches, or other symptoms. They may pose a special health risk for infants, young children, some of the elderly, and people with severely compromised immune systems. The symptoms above are not caused only by organisms in drinking water. If you experience any of these symptoms and they persist, you may want to seek medical advice. People at increased risk should seek advice about drinking water from their health care provider.

"Also, chemical of some concern is nitrate. Populations potentially susceptible to nitrate contamination include: pregnant women, infants, and those with certain stomach enzyme disorders. If you or someone you care for is susceptible to nitrate, consult your doctor. DO NOT try to treat the water by boiling it. Nitrate stays in water after boiling.

"The Outlook Community Water System (PWS ID# 69437 0) is being tested for E. coli contamination immediately. The system will conduct follow up sampling for bacteria and nitrate as directed by the Department of Health.

"The Department of Health recommends that people served by private wells in the area use bottled water until they can have their water tested for E. coli. People needing help with water testing should contact the Yakima County Health District at (509) 249-6508.

"We have consulted with the Washington State Department of Health about this incident. We will notify you when the water is safe to drink."


OUTLOOK, WA - Some residents are trying to figure out what to do next after a flood ravaged homes early Wednesday morning.  

George Salinas is one of those people. When he looks out his front door, he can see a lake of water where his yard used to be. Now he has to walk through waste water that's at least a foot and a half deep. 

"As you can see I'm underwater," says Salinas, "I don't know what to do, I'm confused and it's not my fault."

The Yakima County Water Resources Division says the flooding happened after a small levee broke in a nearby field owned by Deruyter Brothers Dairy. The water combined with manure and spread to the dairy, carrying waste to homes in Outlook. The county thinks close to a dozen homes were affected.

Salinas said the flood waters have already caused damage to his cars, pets, and most of all, his sick wife. "I took her out yesterday, we went to the doctor, she's has to be there today also, but there is no way I can get her out of there, I don't want her to fall down."

The county says they are in repair mode and adds that Deruyter Brothers is working on the issue. Meanwhile, Salinas hopes he's seen the worst of the flooding.