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Polson issues water emergency

Polson City Hall
Posted at 9:11 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 23:25:06-04

POLSON — Close to 60 homes in Polson had their water shut off Monday morning so city officials could refill water reserve tanks they say are critically low.

“We want to be able to provide water to all of our utility customers, but we also have fire protection concerns for the community as well,” Polson City Manager Ed Meece told MTN News.

Meece said the city issued a water emergency on Saturday prohibiting the watering of yards as well as washing vehicles and other equipment.

Just two days later, close to 60 homes in Polson had their water shut off as that area's water reserves reached critical levels.

“We had to do that, turn off a booster pump and so they’re now without water, we hope to have that restored within the next 12 hours,” said Meece.

Meece said the city’s water supply comes from seven wells. He said an extreme demand for water due to the record number of people visiting Polson this year coupled with extreme heat, has led to the city’s water emergency.

“We’re producing about 800,000 gallons of water a day and we’re only taking in about 540,000 at our wastewater treatment plant, which tells us that about 250,000 gallons are being used for lawn watering and those types of uses, that’s a whole lot of water flowing out of our system,” Meece explained.

Polson resident Dale Engstrom, who lives in one of the 60 homes without water, said the water shut-off is starting to become a yearly occurrence each July. He was disappointed the city didn’t give him a heads up before shutting off his water.

“The unfortunate part was that they didn’t tell us in advance that they were going to do this thing, so we had no chance to fill up tanks and things like that and in fact, we called them, because we noticed the water was gone again,” said Engstrom.

Meece expects the water emergency to remain in place for the foreseeable future. He added that making sure the city has water resources for fire protection is a top priority.

“Numerous backup plans that we’ve established at this time for fighting fires depending on what area of the community it was to occur in, so we feel like we’re in a good position, but we want to make that a great position from a safety standpoint,” said Meece.

Free water and bathroom service are available for Polson residents without water at the Linderman Gym on 4th Avenue East.