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Nibley Residents Await Water Test Results

Nibley City residents and business owners are preparing for a weekend without water.  Nibley City Manager David Zook said they are still awaiting test results from a Utah lab to determine whether or not the culinary system is clean.

Thursday, Natalie Hawker and her son had a “water day” since school was cancelled.  They made a trip to the city office building where she asked city officials if they could tell her when the water will be safe to use.  Zook told her the water system has been flushed but if Friday’s test results show there is still diesel fuel in the system, it will be next Tuesday before they can find out if the flushing has helped.

“What we have done is filled the tanks completely full and they have been over-topping,” Hawker said. 

Nibley City has three water tanks.  They hold a total of more than 3 million gallons of water.  All of that water could be contaminated, so HAZMAT crews from Nibley, Logan, Millville, Hyrum and Providence spent Wednesday night opening fire hydrants to allow thousands of gallons of water to flow into the streets.

“The water on the top of the tanks has been flowing out and the water is flowing through a boom system of absorbent booms to absorb the oils off of the top of the water,” Zook said.

It is not clear how the diesel fuel spilled near the natural spring on the east side of Nibley, just above Hollow Road.  Early indications are that the owner of a nearby farm may have tipped his tractor on the private road that leads to both his property and the city water source.  The spill is believed to have happened on Saturday, allowing the chemicals to seep into the soil and spread throughout the system.

“We received a call from someone saying their water had a strange odor,” Zook said.  “That was on Wednesday.  By then the damage had been done.”

If results from the first samplings are clean, Zook said residents should have access to water by Friday night.  If it is decided the oily diesel fuel has reached all of the tanks, city crews may have to completely drain the system and remove the contaminants by hand.  That could leave residents without water for several more days.

Jill Parker with the Bear River Health Department told reporters Wednesday night that an initial review of the spill and the impact on the water system means residents should not use the water for cooking, bathing or drinking.  She said limited use of the city’s water prior to the mandatory shutoff will not threaten the health of users.  Zook and other city officials, however, warn that continued use of the tainted water could be risky, and they have asked residents to wait until neighborhood Community Emergency Response Team members conduct an official door-to-door announcement that water is safe for consumption. 

At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.