Water customers in Mapleton get relief

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Mapleton Water District installs temporary treatment skid

Dec. 19, 2020 — 

Mapleton area residents are in for some long overdue good news next week regarding their water supply. New equipment and support services have been purchased and installed at the Mapleton Water District (MWD) Central Station.

For more than four months, residents have been advised to boil all water obtained from local sources for drinking and cooking. In response to community members’ complaints about a lack of communication from the district, it has increased attempts and avenues in communication with residents and, yesterday, Dec. 18, MWD board members provided an update on positive new developments.

MWD Superintendent Terry Saubert has been working this week with technicians to upgrade pumps and auxiliary equipment which had failed or simply reached the end of its usable lifespan.

There has been a delay in receiving equipment and the necessary training for a number of reasons, according to the district, including fall wildfires and COVID-related delays.

MWD Vice Chairperson Dustin Basurto was on site Friday and provided a report on the progress of the installations required to replace and restart equipment needed to provide potable water to area residents.

The first and most important element of overcoming the problems at MWD is simple, according to Basurto; the district needed a new movable water storage tank, also known as a “skid.”

“Today we have installation techs from Westech Co. of Utah onsite training Terry on the temporary skid operation,” said Basurto. “Westech built our 140GPM temporary treatment skid to-order and will assist with the repair and operation as needed.”

Also onsite Friday was The Automation Group (TAG) from Eugene, which has been contracted for the new electrical and mechanical installation of the skid.

Basurto credited retiring state legislator Rep. Caddy McKeown as being instrumental in fixing the Mapleton water situation.

“The skid is a huge step. Five years of planning to achieve it and Caddy McKeown has been our champion in the state legislature,” said Basurto.

He also wants MWD residents to know the support they are receiving will be ongoing in order to ensure there is no repeat of this year’s breakdowns.

“TAG has matched us with an engineer and offers a variety of services and expertise the district will utilize moving forward with the temporary and the new permanent treatment plant,” Basurto explained. “Some of their projects include the Bonneville Dam and new upgrades to the Seal Rock Water system.”

The new equipment and the training required to properly operate that equipment will take a day or two, according to Basurto, but the fact that there is an end in sight to the lack of water for Mapleton area residents is something to celebrate.

Basurto reassured customers of the MWD that the board understands their concerns, is working to improve their district and welcomes input from the community.

“At this point, everything is falling into place and I can confidently say we plan to lift the boil water notice within the week,” Basurto said. “We are not seeking praise or have any illusions of perfection in our dealings. We are striving to be better and to leave our community in a better position than we found it in — and it is our sincere desire to build public trust in the district.”

Residents with questions or concerns can contact the MWD office at 541-268-4348.