Bonners Ferry’s new water source takes getting used to

It’s a project three years in the making, but to Bonners Ferry residents used to the (usually) sparkling water delivered to taps from Myrtle Creek, the taste and texture of water now being delivered from the city’s new well is taking a bit of getting used to.

The city has long seen increased demand for water on its municipal system, and they are limited in volume in what they can draw off Myrtle Creek, and there are times during the year, typically spring and summer, when high turbidity sends increased silt and other material down that is hard to filter out, prompting city officials to begin looking at developing an additional water source.

When the Myrtle Creek drainage was hit by fire in 2003, the city had to draw water from the Kootenai River for a time, revealing the need for a second dependable source of water. After much planning, work on a new well on lower Oak Street near Dakota Street began about 18-months ago, and the system went online earlier this month. With the recent unseasonal rains, water from Myrtle Creek was coming down dirty, so this week, city water personnel switched to the new system.

While the water tests safe, it does have higher calcium content than that drawn from Myrtle Creek, making the water gritty and leaving a white residue, though not causing any sort of health hazard.

“We know it has a different taste than what people are used to,” said city administrator Lisa Ailport. “Our water department folks are testing and experimenting with filter and treatment options to get the well water as close to the clarity and quality of the Myrtle Creek water people are used to, but it might not be possible as it’s a new source.”