The Ketchikan City Council meets Thursday, and on the agenda is a motion to formally change some of the steps required by the state Department of Environmental Conservation related to the city’s water.
In late 2014, the city agreed to a compliance order that called for specific actions. They included monitoring the amount of coliform bacteria in Ketchikan Lakes, the city’s source of untreated water; and reducing the amount of regulated byproducts that in the city’s treated water.
The proposed changes are related specifically to the bacteria issue, and have been approved by state officials. They include switching the source water testing from total coliform to fecal bacteria only, and extending the deadline for that part of the compliance order.
The city has been testing the source water at Ketchikan Lakes for about a year, and the results have been encouraging, according to city information. Switching to fecal bacteria testing only should bring the source water into compliance, but the city wants another year of testing to make sure.
Total coliform is a group of different kinds of bacteria; fecal coliform is more specific to animal waste, and includes E. coli. According to the Washington State Department of Health website, total coliform is not necessarily harmful, but fecal coliform carries a risk of disease.
According to the city, it is on schedule with construction of the new water treatment process to address the disinfection byproducts part of the compliance order.
Thursday’s Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. in City Council chambers. A time for public comment is scheduled at the start of the meeting.