BAKER CITY – (Release by Baker City) Update:
Baker City has received the laboratory testing results related to the water supply contamination on Tuesday, October 27, of PHOS-CHEK WD881 Class A Foam Concentrate fire suppression foam. Four samples were taken testing for Methylene Blue Active Substances (MBAS) contaminant at the following location with these results:
|Sample Location||Result -Milligrams/Liter mg/L||Secondary Maximum Contaminant Level (SMCL) Milligrams/Liter (mg/L)|
|College & ‘E’||0.048||0.50|
|Broadway & 3rd||Non-Detect||0.50|
|‘A’ & 8th||0.064||0.50|
|10th & ‘H’||Non-Detect||0.50|
The samples were taken between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 28. Public Works crews continued to flush the system throughout the day after sampling was completed.
The EPA established National Secondary Drinking Water Regulations (NSDWRs) that set non-mandatory water quality standards for 15 contaminants not regulated or mandated. These standards are established as guidelines to assist public water systems in managing their drinking water for aesthetic considerations, such as taste, color, and odor. These contaminants are not considered to present a risk to human health at the SMCL.
Further information regarding EPA Secondary Drinking Water Standards: Guidance for Nuisance Chemicals may be found at:
The health and safety of the community we serve is the top priority of Baker City Public Works. We appreciate the understanding and cooperation our citizens have shown during this recent incident.
This notice is being sent to you by the Baker City Water Department. PWS ID# 4100073
Date Distributed: October 30, 2020
Yesterday, Baker City’s municipal water supply was contaminated with a small amount (estimated to be less than 15 gallons) of PHOS-CHEK WD881 Class A Foam Concentrate fire suppression foam. Since that time, Public Works crews have flushed approximately 500,000 gallons of water through the city distribution system.
Public Works Department staff have consulted with representatives with the Department of Human Services Oregon Health Authority (OHA.) Toxicologists with OHA have reviewed the available information regarding the foam concentrate. It has been determined that the main ingredient is non-hazardous. The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) gave the ingredient a low toxicity score and found that it is a common ingredient in cosmetic products.
Based in these findings, OHA is advising that it is safe to use the water like normal with the following recommendations:
● Flush your water really well prior to use for 5+ minutes, or until the temperature of the cold water drops, which indicates that water from the mainline has made its way through your plumbing.
● Do not drink water if there are:
– Suds or foaming
– Unusual odors or tastes.
Following is a link to the US Forest Service health assessment of Class A foams: : https://www.fs.fed.us/rm/fire/wfcs/documents/NONCONFIDENTIAL-HHRA Foams%20May2020.pdf
This notice is being sent to you by the Baker City Water Department.
Update: Yesterday, Baker City’s municipal water supply was contaminated with a small amount of PHOS-CHEK WD881 Class A Foam Concentrate fire suppression foam. This chemical can cause skin and eye irritation, irritation to respiratory tract, if inhaled, and gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea if ingested.
Indications from the manufacturer are that the product characteristics are similar to those of household dish soap.
Below is a time line of the related events and actions:
7:00 a.m. (Approximate) Municipal water system was impacted by foam concentrate. 8:55 a.m. Notification of possible contamination was received.
9:00 a.m. Public Works staff began incident investigation.
9:30 a.m. Impacted water services were shut off.
9:30 a.m. Mainline flushing operations began.
10:00 a.m. Isolation of water system in the impacted area was executed by closing of water mainline valves.
10:50 a.m. Initial reverse 911 call was made to residents and businesses within 4-block radius of point of contamination.
11:00 a.m. Public Works staff consulted with the Oregon Health Authority regarding steps to determine when water would be safe for human consumption.
11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Notices were prepared and hand delivered to all residents and businesses
within a 12-block radius of point of contamination.
2:42 p.m. Second reverse 911 call was made to all residents signed up for the reverse 911 call service.
2:45 p.m. Notices were posted at City Hall, online, and were provided to media contacts.
4:00 a.m. Water samples were drawn from water system in 4 locations.
Water samples are in transit to a certified testing lab for analysis. It is expected that results will be received on Friday, October 30. Those results will be communicated to the public as soon as they are available.
Crews are continuing to flush lines in the area. It is expected that residents may experience reduced water pressure, air in lines, and possible debris from the turbidity cause by flushing.
All active water accounts will be receiving a 1-unit credit on their water bill to offset the cost of water used during the course of flushing their home systems.
Date Distributed: October 28, 2020
Previous:(Release from Baker City) Baker City’s municipal water supply has been contaminated with a small amount of PHOS-CHEK WD881 Class A Foam Concentrate fire suppression foam. This chemical can cause skin and eye irritation, irritation to the respiratory tract if inhaled, and gastrointestinal irritation, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea if ingested.
The contamination was caused when the fire suppression foam entered the system during firefighting efforts in the area of 10th and Baker Streets at approximately 7:00 a.m. this morning, October 27, 2020.
Baker City Public Works has identified the known area of contamination from 8th Street to 11th and Broadway Avenue to ‘C’ Street. Crews have isolated and flushed the main lines within this twelve-block area.
As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that all residents and businesses flush your domestic water system. For instructions to complete this process please see www.bakercity.com, or call (541) 524-2038 for recorded instructions. Instructions are also available at the front door of Baker City Hall, 1655 1st Street.
Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have seen this notice directly.