Craig, Alaska (KRBD staff photo).

Officials in Craig are urging water conservation as the community recovers from a weekend outage that left some pipes dry and others with dirty water. 

City Administrator Brian Templin said that residents should avoid leaving their taps open to flush their pipes of sediment and other impurities. He explained that’s necessary to allow the city’s storage tanks to refill.

“We’re starting to build storage water in the storage tank very, very slowly,” Templin said. “And our concern is that if we have too many people flushing their water lines, trying to get rid of colored water, we’re using too much water for other purposes, that it would not take very much to drain the system right back down again.” 

Craig’s water system remains under a boil water notice through at least Sunday, March 12. Residents should boil their water for at least two minutes before using it for cooking, drinking or teeth-brushing. 

Templin said the water pressure rose enough by Wednesday morning to collect bacterial samples. Templin says levels reached 20 pounds per square inch.

The samples were shipped to a lab in Juneau Wednesday afternoon. The boil water notice can end when samples come back clear of bacteria like E.coli. 

“And now we’re just waiting for the results, which may take a few days still,” Templin said. “So we’re still looking at the boil water notice being in place until at least … Sunday, the 12th or Monday the 13th. And then we’ll see where we’re at and hopefully be able to lift out water that boil water notice.”

But if water levels drop too low, Templin said that could trigger an extension of the boil water notice.

As of Wednesday, two of the four so-called “treatment trains” at Craig’s water plant were running at full capacity. The other two are sidelined until new filters are installed. It’s unclear when replacement parts will arrive to restore the system’s full treatment capacity.

Raegan Miller is a Report for America corps member for KRBD. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep her writing stories like this one. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution at