Published: May 26, 2015

    Fuel for Thought: Diesel Found in Nibley Water Supply

    The driver of the vehicle probably never realized what happened. He or she parked next to a stream, and left a little while later. Not exactly the kind of event that would normally inconvenience six thousand people, but shortly afterward, the residents of Nibley, Utah, found themselves without water for a full 48 hours.

    Whoever parked by the city stream spilled diesel fuel, which made its way into the spring. A potentially volatile organic compound was detected in the water, and for the next two days no one in Nibley could cook, drink, or even bathe for fear of diesel contamination. Toilet use was acceptable, thankfully, but residents were advised not to wash hands afterward.

    To remove residual diesel from the water system the city opened other wells and back-flushed the system. Schools were closed, and residents were warned boiling water would have no effect on the contaminant.

    Thankfully, generous surrounding cities quickly offered tap water at designated locations for water–deprived Nibley residents. Some communities even offered showering facilities.

    26 Even a one day disruption in your water supply can be serious. Have at least three days of water per person in your emergency supplies and replace any water you use as soon as possible.

    The trouble with emergency water supplies, of course, is that they quickly run out, especially if you’ve miscalculated how much water you need for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. One option, which would have helped anyone at Nibley, is to install a whole house water system with UV protection capable of filtering out both organic and inorganic materials. The residents of Nibley would have surely appreciated such a safeguard.