March 9, 2018
*Note: This information is being shared in partnership with West Pierce Fire & Rescue as part of an ongoing effort to help residents prepare for an emergency month by month.*
Clean water is essential for life, both for hydration and to prevent the spread of disease. Healthcare providers who assisted with disaster efforts in Puerto Rico treated multiple conditions related to contaminated water, including vomiting, diarrhea, pink eye and leptospirosis. Clean water storage is a top priority in disaster preparedness. This month West Pierce CERT will assist residents in learning about water storage preparation.
Each person in a household requires one gallon of water per day for drinking and sanitation. FEMA recommends storing enough water for each member of a household for two weeks. While specialized barrels to store large amounts of water and tools to maintain water purity are available for purchase, it is not the only method in which you can store water.
Water can be stored in screw-top plastic bottles, such as a two-liter soda bottle, which are less likely to break or leak. Look for the triangular recycling symbol with a number “1”, as those are the best for water storage. Plastic milk and juice containers are not recommended, asthey are difficult to sanitize and their plastic can become fragile and brittle over time.
To sanitize a two-liter soda bottle, rinse it out with one teaspoon on non-chlorine bleach and one quart of water. Then fill the bottle with clean water and screw the lid on tightly. Label the bottle “drinking water”, put a date on it and store it in a cool, dark place. Empty, sanitize, and refill the bottle every six months to ensure the water remains clean. Bottled water may also be purchased and used for storage. While the FDA does not require expiration dates to be printed on bottled water, it is recommended it be consumed within a two-year period. Once the bottled water has been opened, there is the potential for bacteria and algae to develop.
Using water of questionable purity
It may be necessary to use water of questionable purity. This includes rainwater, water from streams, rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes, and potentially flood water. These sources of water can contain various contaminates that could cause illness. Before using water from these sources, it will be necessary to sanitize this water.
The first step in sanitizing water will be to filter out as many solids as possible. This can be done using coffee filters, several layers of paper towels, or a clean cloth. Portable water filters can also be used. If purchasing a portable water filter, choose one with a filter pore size small enough to remove both bacteria and parasites. Most portable water filters do not remove viruses. Carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the water filter intended to be used.
Sanitizing water by boiling
After filtering the water, bring water to a rolling boil for one minute and allow it to cool naturally. Boiling water is the surest method to kill many disease-causing organisms, including viruses, bacteria and parasites.
Sanitizing water by using bleach
For each gallon of filtered water, add eight drops of unscented chlorine bleach and allow it to stand for 30 minutes. If the faint scent of bleach is present after 30 minutes, the water is good to use. If bleach is not detected, add eight more drops of bleach and let it stand for another 15-30 minutes. If a faint scent of bleach is still not detected, the water cannot be used for drinking.
Remember, boiling water and using bleach will kill most viruses and bacteria but it will not remove metals, salts or chemicals, so the water may still have a funny taste. The taste may be improved by pouring it from one container to another and allowing it to stand for a few hours or by adding a pinch of salt for each quart of water. Also, plan for how to boil water if there were no power.
Hidden sources of water in your home
Turning off the main water valve does two things: It prevents contaminated water from entering the lines in a home, and it keeps gravity from draining water out of the home’s lines if there is a break in an outside pipe. To turn off the water, locate the main shut-off valve and turn the knob or handle clockwise until it is completely closed. A wrench may be needed to do this. Some older homes may also have a shut-off inside, located in the basement or garage.
Water heaters can provide several gallons of drinking water can be obtained by following these steps:
1. Determine whether it is an electric or gas-powered water heater. This will determine how to turn off the source that makes the water hot. If it is electric, turn off the circuit breaker for the water heater. If it is gas, close the gas valve.
2. Turn off the water intake valve.
3. Attach a short hose to the valve at the bottom of the tank to assist with draining. A three-foot length garden hose or washing machine supple hose can be used.
4. Turn on a hot water faucet in the house to let air into the system.
5. Drain water from the hot water heater. Hearing a sucking sound in the pipes is likely to occur. Sediment will also likely be in the water that is drained. Use the methods described earlier to clear the water of sediments after allowing them to settle to the bottom of the water.
6. Refill the tank before turning the electricity or gas back on. REMEMBER, a professional MUST turn the gas back on after it has been turned it off for safety reasons.
Tip: Protect this water source by securing your water heater to the wall studs. Learn how at: https://www.mil.wa.gov/uploads/pdf/Publications/secure%20water%20heatreer.pdf
Water standing in the pipes of a house is also available for use. To collect this water, turn on a faucet at the highest level of the home to allow air in the lines. A small amount of water will trickle out. Water can then be collected from a faucet at the lowest level of the home. Water can also be obtained by melting ice cubes, from canned fruit and vegetable liquids, and from toilet tanks, as long as toilet cleansers have not been placed in them.
Unsafe Water Sources
Sources that should never be used for drinking water:
- Toilet bowls
- Hot water boilers (part of a home heating and not drinking water system)
- Water beds (fungicides are added to the water and chemicals in the vinyl case make the water unsafe for use)
- Swimming pools or spas (due to the chemicals added)
- Any water that has an unusual odor or color, or that you know or suspect might be contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals. Water contaminated with fuel or toxic chemicals CANNOT be made safe for drinking by boiling or disinfection.
March 8, 2018
Early morning travelers who use northbound Interstate 5 near Bridgeport Way may encounter delays on Saturday, March 10.
Between 3:30 a.m. and 4:30 a.m., Washington State Department of Transportation bridge maintenance crews will close the two right lanes approaching Bridgeport Way SW to repair the bridge deck that spans Clover Creek. The northbound I-5 exit to Bridgeport Way SW (#125) will also close during that time.
Advance information for highway construction and maintenance is available at the Olympic Region Weekly Construction and Traffic Updates web page.
March 7, 2018
From the Lakewood Historical Society:
Join the Lakewood Historical Society for the 2nd annual Flapjack Fundraiser!
Due to our success with this tasty FUNdraiser last year, the Lakewood Historical Society has decided to make this an annual event.
Come with a hearty appetite for a morning filled with great food, good conversation, and lots of fabulous prizes!
Tickets are only $10 and available for purchase at the Lakewood History Museum.
Serving up some hearty historical fun!
What: Flapjack Fundraiser
Where: Lakewood Towne Center Applebee’s, 10407 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW Lakewood, WA 98499
When: Saturday, March 10, 2018 8:30-10:30 a.m.
Tickets: $10, available for purchase at the Lakewood History Museum, 6211 Mt. Tacoma Dr. SW, (Open Wed.-Sat. 12-4 p.m.). Phone: (253) 682-3480
March 3, 2018
At its Feb. 28 meeting the city’s Planning Commission voted 4-2 to recommend an ordinance that prohibits marijuana businesses in Lakewood.
The vote came after a public hearing and the review of more than 100 written comments submitted into the public record. Comments were varied and ranged in opinion.
The commission’s recommendation will be forwarded to the City Council, which is expected to take up the matter in April. Despite recommending against allowing marijuana businesses in the city, the commission included in its recommendation guidance to the City Council on what marijuana regulations could look like in the city, should the council choose to ignore its recommendation. The council is expected to review and discuss the recommendation at its April 23 study session.
March 8, 2018
We have entered the next phase of our downtown planning process. The city's draft downtown plan and draft planned action environmental impact statement will be presented to the public at an open house March 21 at 5:30 p.m. before the city's Planning Commission meeting.
The open house will have interactive displays and a chance for discussion. Refreshments will also be available. The Planning Commission will then discuss the plan at its meeting.
To see the plan before the March 21 open house visit the project website March 16. That's when the plan will be posted online and from there a 30-day comment period will begin. Review the documents and provide your thoughts and comments online .
March 7, 2018
Earlier this year work began on two pedestrian safety projects in Lakewood that included adding sidewalks and lighted pedestrian crossings on two roadways near two Clover Park School District schools.
The city was able to make these safety improvements in large part from a federal Safe Routes to Schools grant, which is awarded to projects that make it safer for students to walk to and from school.
The schools that benefitted from this work are Dower Elementary and Hudtloff Middle schools.
Sidewalks, curb, gutter and new pedestrian crossings were added to John Dower Road between its intersection with Steilacoom Boulevard and Custer Road. The pavement was also replaced because it had deteriorated and it no longer made sense to continue to patch it with temporary fixes.
Over on Phillips Road the city also added curb, gutter, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings and LED lighting between its intersection with Steilacoom Boulevard and Agate Drive.
The total project cost for both streets was just over $2 million. The city contributed $603,000 for the projects, which includes the cost to repave John Dower Road.
Work is expected to conclude in mid-March on both projects.
March 3, 2018
At its study session Feb. 26 the Lakewood City Council reviewed the city’s annual housing report, which provides data on new housing units built, remodels and additions, demolitions, pending residential projects and approved final plats.
The data shows what has been constructed and the amount and type of residential development anticipated to occur over the next 24 months.
This year the data was presented in a way that will allow for year-over-year analysis, allowing the council the ability to compare historical information.
- Number of new market rate single-family homes: 47
- Number of single-family home demolitions: 26
- Net new single-family homes in 2017 (47 – 26) = 21
- Number of market rate residential additions/remodels: 537
- Number of new affordable housing units: 0
- Number of affordable residential additions/remodels: 13
- Number of demolitions, all types: 53
- Number of pending multi-family residential units: 566
- New single-family residential lots created in 2017: 39
- Number of single-family residential lots in the pipeline: 51
Regional housing trends:
- Home sales within the Tacoma-Lakewood housing market area remain tight with an estimated vacancy rate of 1.4 percent. During the 12 months ending June 2017 new and existing home sales totaled 20,150, up almost 12 percent from the previous year. The average sale price increased 11 percent to $303,700.
- Demand is estimated for 8,625 homes.
- There are currently 1,500 homes under construction in the housing market area.
- The overall rental market also remains tight with an estimated vacancy rate of 3 percent. Apartment market conditions are also tight, also with a nearly 3 percent vacancy rate as of March 2017. The average asking rent increased more than 8 percent to $1,070/month.
- Demand is estimated at 6,600 new market-rate units.
- There are currently 1,800 units under construction.
Lakewood is not keeping pace with the region’s housing demand. To meet current demand the city would need to permit 5,024 single- and multi-family units. Currently there are 657 units in the construction pipeline for Lakewood.
If current market conditions hold steady, the value of residential properties in the city will continue to rise. So too will rents.
Other items of note:
- It is difficult to build new single-family housing in Lakewood given the already developed nature of the city.
- Preliminary and short plat approvals are challenging. These projects tend to face opposition from surrounding property owners.
- Roughly 42 percent of the single-family home demolitions that occurred in Lakewood in 2017 were a result of the city’s Dangerous Building Abatement Program.
- Only two large apartment complexes have been built in Lakewood since incorporation 22 years ago: Lakewood Meadows (168 units) off 112th Street in 2001 and Echelon Apartments (254 units) off 88th ST CT SW in 2009.
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