Sitka has begun the process of switching its drinking water source from Blue Lake to Indian River. Over the weekend, the town was connected to the temporary Indian River water filtration system for about twelve hours each day.
A text message alert sent out from the city on Monday warned residents that they might see yellow water coming out of the tap — but the water is safe to drink, and meeting all drinking water standards. City environmental superintendent Mark Buggins says the color comes from higher-than-usual amounts of organic matter washed into Indian River by heavy rains over the weekend.
The city is hoping to switch over entirely to Indian River sometime Tuesday (8-12-14). Sitka will be using the river for one to three months, while the final work is done to connect the new pen stock at Blue Lake dam. During that work, the city will be cut off from its normal water supply.
The city is asking residents to conserve water. August is historically the period of highest water use in Sitka, as the town hits peak season for both tourism and fish processing. The high August demand will strain the Indian River system, Buggins says, and anything residents can do to decrease the load will allow the water plant to run more smoothly.
You can sign up to receive text messages or email alerts from the city by clicking on the GovDelivery link on the City and Borough of Sitka homepage.