People who draw directly from Lake Whatcom urged to boil water

Sewage leak after generator failed during power outage


People who draw their drinking water directly from Lake Whatcom are being advised to boil their water before consuming it, after sewage leaked into the water during a power outage Monday, Feb. 24, according to the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District.

Late Monday afternoon, the district was notified that wastewater had seeped from a sewer manhole near 20 Marina Drive in Sudden Valley. A portable generator that was powering a pump station during the snow storm and power outages had malfunctioned, causing the spill.

The spill was stopped at 5 p.m., shortly after it was discovered. Officials estimate that as much as 4,800 cubic feet of sewage could have been spilled.

The spill creates potential health risks for people drawing their water directly from Lake Whatcom without treatment. Anyone who draws from the lake without treatment should bring their water to a rolling boil for at least one minute before consuming it.

The district will issue a notice when water no longer has to be boiled; this usually takes five to seven days. The boil-water advisory does not apply to drinking water customers of the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District or the City of Bellingham.

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or

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