Boil water advisory impacting thousands in North Bend could extend into next week

NORTH BEND, Wash. -- Hundreds of people attended an emergency meeting in North Bend Wednesday after E. coli was found in the water. It has been nearly a week since thousands of homes and businesses were affected, and it could be another week before the water is safe.

Sallal Water Association put the advisory out last week after test results came back positive for the bacteria. Sallal Water and the health department are waiting on additional test results before they clear it.

At the QFC in North Bend, water is front and center. In the past couple of days, 3,500 cases of water have been sold. The customers walking out with it are footing the bill to Sallal Water.

"It was the best water you could ever get and now we have to be all careful with what we're drinking," said Edith Holloway, a resident impacted by the advisory.

A spokesperson for Sallal Water says E. coli contaminated their system. About 5,000 homes and a few businesses have been under the boil water advisory.

"Have all my water boiled, bottled, no more soda guns. Just eliminate all tap water," said Rob Sherard, owner of Mt Si Pub.

Sherard says the health department shut the restaurant down for five days.

"Throwing away all my food that I know is not going to make it in a week and a half, I had to get rid of everything" Sherard said. "All my dishes had to come out because I have to wash them eventually.

Sherard acted fast to come up with a plan. Instead of a full menu, he's serving just hot dogs and pizza. As for drinks at the bar, it's also limited and makes for a long grocery list.

"Tonic water, mixers, cans of pop, bottled drinking water for my dishes, ice; it keeps going on and on" Sherard said.

When all is said and done, Mt Si Pub is looking at up to $10,000 in the red.

"Yes I'm open but I'm losing, I've already lost a bunch of revenue," Sherard said.

Once the boil water advisory is lifted, people will have to take additional steps to flush their water system and replace filters. Sallal Water and the health department are aiming to have water back to normal by Oct. 1.

Safeway is also offering free water to people impacted by the advisory. If you're concerned about recycling, bottles can be dropped off at a recycling dumpster at Torguson Park.