Hot spring water problem worsens: Fire destroys treatment plant, may last more than two months

‘Totally dead’: Portable toilets, showers; water, gift card donations sought

Warm Springs, Ore. (KTVZ) — The aging water system problems on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation worsened Friday when an emergency water conservation notice was issued after an underground fire damaged and shut down the tribe’s water treatment plant.

“Please limit water to essential needs only,” said a Facebook post from the Warm Springs Alliance tribe.

“Due to unforeseen damage caused by a small fire at the water treatment plant, all users in the Agency District, Upper Dry Creek, Sunnyside, Wolf Point and Kah-Nee-Ta Hamlets should limit water to essential needs, until further notice,” it said.

“Repairs are expected to take at least a few months,” the brief consultation concluded.

The underground electrical fire “caused the complete shutdown of the water plant,” said tribal emergency manager Dan Martinez.

“It’s completely out of service, unusable and contamination that has caused multiple lengthy boil water notices in various areas,” Martinez said Saturday.

The big federal infrastructure bill passed late last year includes big money to address such a serious water problem on state reservations, but such projects can take months to plan — and years to complete.

at the same time…

“It’s driving me crazy,” Martinez said Saturday. “It didn’t seem to quit. Just when I thought I could enjoy a weekend…”

However, he added, “I was a little optimistic this morning. I heard from the power company that they could bypass certain areas to use one of the pumps.”

However, “it could be a week, a month, two months,” he said, adding that they intended to be “at least 20 to 30 days ahead” in terms of water supply.

Martinez said the bookings again rented showers and toilets and sought donations of water, and also accepted gift cards from places like Safeway and Fred Meyer, where they could buy more water.

Those interested in donating to water distribution efforts should call (541) 647-9001. The facility is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1116 Wasco Street, Warm Springs.

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