Breaking: Mapleton deals with breakdown of water system


UPDATE: School closed to students until Wednesday, Jan. 4

UPDATE Saturday, 4 p.m.: While Mapleton Water District (MWD) continues to search for the leak (or leaks) causing the current outage, some residents may have intermittent running water. They ask that residents who do continue to conserve as much as possible.

"Use your water modestly," said Millie Rochon MWD Vice-Chair. "Feel free to shower or do a load of laundry or dishes but still have consideration as we move forward."

There are two 24-hour, unmanned water filling stations set up for non-potable (not for drinking) water: Mapleton High School parking lot, 10868 E. Mapleton Road and Florence Public Works, 2675 Kingwood.

“They are easy to use, you pretty much turn them on like a hose,” said Vanessa West, MWD Board Member. “There are directions on how to make the water drinkable at the Florence location — I’ll try and get directions [on making it drinkable] at the Mapleton location soon.”

Drinkable water was delivered to all residents within the district. If someone was missed or needs water, reach out to West at 541-999-9778.

West also provides frequent updates on her Facebook page: www.facebook.com/vanessa.west.98499.

Mapleton School District is also affected by this outage and has announced plans for the upcoming week of school:

No school for any students on Monday, Jan. 2, and preschool has been canceled for the week.

“We are deciding now because we want to make sure families have time to coordinate childcare,” said Mapleton Superintendent Sue Wilson on Friday. “Porta-potties and handwashing stations add a layer of challenge that we are not yet ready to support for this age group. We will use the week for planning, communication and preparation for an amazing week back beginning Jan 9th.”

For kindergarten through 12th grade, school has been canceled for Tuesday, Jan. 3. School will begin Wednesday, Jan. 4, and continue through Friday, Jan. 6 with normal hours.

“We will use the day [Tuesday] for staff to finalize some procedures for school with limited water and have services for the local community,” said Wilson, who mentioned that the district hopes to offer water filling stations and maybe showers on Tuesday somewhere on school grounds.

“We will communicate more details about next week, including resources at the school and our operational plans as they come available and at noon on Monday,” added Wilson. Check for updates from the Mapleton School District on its website: www.mapleton.k12.or.us/.

Update Thursday, Dec. 29 8:30 a.m.: According to Millie Rochon, MWD Board Vice-chair, volunteer turnout was “awesome” on Wednesday with residents stepping up to help get water flowing again. 

EWEB was also in Mapleton Wednesday providing water to residents and will return Friday to help troubleshoot. Rochon stressed that the most important thing those within the water district can do to help is to use as little water as possible. 

“EWEB will be here with a fleet of help on Friday to detect leaks,” said Rochon. “They cannot do that without water in the lines. Conserve!” 

According to Rochon the plant is currently running at full capacity which will help with leak detection. 

Dec. 28, 2022 — “Do not use your water,” Millie Rochon, Vice-Chair of the Mapleton Water District, said on Thursday after leaks in the Mapleton Water System created a failure of the system. 

“Just don’t open your taps because you’re taking water from your neighbor. We need to not use any water in our lines so we can get water to the tanks.”

Mapleton residents needing water are encouraged to visit the Mapleton Food Share, where bottles of water are currently being handed out.

“We have water being donated on a regular basis, and a truck is coming this afternoon with water so people can flush their toilets and wash their dishes,” Rochon said. 

Currently, it is unclear exactly where the leaks are occurring in the system, though it is believed it is somewhere between the pump and the holding tank.

“Earlier today it seemed like the lower district on Riverview and on East Mapleton had water, but we’ve gotten word since that water had run out,” Rochon said. “Houses up on Chestnut have no water at all. There’s little hope of getting it there because we’re losing so much water to leaks, and also lacking production because of the weather system.“

Currently, there is no timeline on when water will be restored as they search for the leak. 

“We are trying to stay hopeful, but there is no timeline,” Rochon said.

In the meantime, the district is encouraging people to donate as much water to the Mapleton Food Share as possible.

“People can feel free to bring water to Mapleton, it would be appreciated,” Rochon said. 

In the meantime, she encouraged people to check on the Facebook page of district board member Vanessa West, who is providing updates, follow local news sources, and get the word out to neighbors to stop using water until water is restored.