City remains without drinkable water

<p>A section of Weston's 12-inch water main Saturday rests downhill and parallel to its original position after a mudslide ripped it out of place early that morning.</p>

Weston’s 300-plus city water customers Monday remained without drinkable water from their faucets after a mudslide Saturday ripped out part of the city’s main line.

Customers are still under a boil alert for the well water being used in the city.

Police Sgt. Joshua Henningsen said the city expects Pioneer Construction, Inc. of Pendleton to replace the pipe Tuesday after an OK from La Grande civil engineering firm Anderson-Perry & Associates, Inc.

“Pending no complications we should have that completed by tomorrow evening,” Henningsen said Monday.

If Pioneer is unable to finish, the city should also know Tuesday whether it’s safe to drink the water from the Smith’s Frozen Foods, Inc. well. The city started temporarily delivering well water to customers via fire hydrants after chlorinating it Saturday.

Bill Goss, Oregon Health Authority, collected a sample Monday for a coliform bacteria test, the most common type of water inspection.

“The city does monthly testing for that after incidents like this,” Goss said. “The city went on a boil alert after the line break and to take them off the boil alert, we need to show that there’s no bacteria.”

A leaking 14-inch Smith’s Frozen Foods pipe caused the mudslide, Mayor Duane Thul told the East Oregonian Saturday.

Henningsen said the city will have to chlorinate and test the water tower once the new pipe section is installed in case construction causes contamination, but the water tower was likely unaffected by the break.

The city Saturday provided 14 portable toilets around town and a water tender with drinking water and six private shower stalls outside City Hall. Henningsen said those services would remain in town through Tuesday, but city council would likely have to vote whether to keep them if the main line isn’t repaired by Tuesday evening but residents can drink the Smith’s water.

Saturday’s break marked the second time city water customers went without water since mid-April when the city shut off service to replace a leaking 40-foot section of the main damaged when Smith installed a pump and water rushed into the connected city pipes. The same break for three days in March left seven houses outside city limits without service.


Contact Chris Rizer at or 541-966-0836.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.