Update to Water System Operating Status from DoH

Dear Glacier Springs and Glacier Green property owners,

We are writing with an update on our water system.

The Washington State Department of Health (DoH) recently downgraded our water system operating permit from “green” to “blue,” which, unfortunately, means no new water connections can be approved at this time. Anyone planning to connect to our water system, such as property owners with undeveloped lots without existing water hook-ups, will not be able to until we resolve our water issues.

The blue designation means that our system is “substantially in compliance” except that it does not meet design approval or has exceeded the number of approved connections, according to the DoH. Placement in this category means the system is adequate for existing uses, but not adequate for growth, i.e., adding more users. For more information, see the DOH website.

Please note that our boil water advisory is still in effect, and we continue to work diligently with our partners to repair the existing spring box source and investigate other water sources that won’t affect our water rights.

We recognize that this news is disappointing and frustrating, to say the least, for those in our community who will have to delay plans to build homes on their lots. Please be assured that the board is working as diligently and quickly as we can to repair the spring boxes that were damaged last year and explore alternate water sources and treatment options, as well as financing possibilities.

For the most up-to-date, accurate information on the water system, please refer to the GSPOA website https://glaciersprings.org/news/. Since not all property owners use or have access to social media, we will post to the website and send the same information through email.

Thank you.


Association Update for January 9, 2024

Hello, GSPOA owners,

It has been a while since our last update, so we wanted to provide one. Since our Annual General Meeting and update on October 18, we have not had any E.coli hits and continue to get satisfactory coliform results. We are still under a Department of Health boil advisory. Bring water to a rolling boil for one minute and let cool before using.

Thank you to those who have volunteered to serve on a committee! It’s the first time in GSPOA history that we’ve had such great participation.

  • The Water Committee has met and is currently soliciting quotes from contractors for the spring box repair (known as “Phase 1”) and for engineering quotes on possible treatment options (known as “Phase 2”). The committee will make recommendations to the board and once those are approved, the board will send out a special meeting notice to discuss and vote on possible expenses and work. Anything over $10,000 needs to be approved by members.
  • In the coming months, the committee is identifying and fixing leaks around the water system. We are also in the process of getting bids for hazard tree removal around the tanks and spring box area. We hope to start that work in late January.
  • The Finance Committee will be meeting in a few weeks. The Finance and Water Committees will be working closely together on all project budgets/cash forecasting.
  • By-Laws and Covenants Committee is being scheduled.
  • Zoning Committee will be scheduled soon as well.

Water Update for 10/18, and Reminder about Boil Water Advisory

Hello, everyone –

We received water test results earlier today and of the eight tests, two were positive for coliform and one was positive for E.coli. This is a reminder that we are still under a boil advisory. Bring all water to a rolling boil, for 1 minute, and let it cool before using.

Thank you to those that attended the AGM and the informational webinar online. The new board met Monday, October 16 and, in the coming weeks, we will be working on scheduling another informational meeting with the Department of Health to address outstanding questions and working on next steps. 

Water Update for 7/26, and a Reminder About Trash and Bears/Wildlife

Hi, everyone – it’s been a few weeks since our last update, so I wanted to provide one. We’re still in a holding pattern at this point, awaiting completed designs from our engineer. The target date for completion is the end of this month, at which point we’ll schedule the informational meeting we’d talked about back in June. Next steps would then include a review meeting with the DOH to get their approval on our remediation plan. Our goal is still to have at least preliminary remediation work done at the spring collection point before the rains return this fall.

In terms of current status/water quality, we have moved from weekly testing to bi-weekly. We did get test results showing unsatisfactory trace results for coliform in two locations yesterday (at Olson Dr and Miller Way). Again, with the recent rains, this somewhat aligns with the pattern that has developed since February. Due to the hit-and-miss pattern, the DOH guidance is still to keep the boil water advisory in effect.

Lastly, a reminder about the bear which has been in our community and others nearby, tipping over trash bins and scattering garbage about. The Association has no covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) pertaining to trash and recycling, so guidelines regarding timing of putting trash bins out at the road as well as returning them to the property is governed by Whatcom County and not by the Association. Whatcom County residents and businesses must manage their garbage so that it does not become a nuisance. This includes keeping garbage contained in a solid, waterproof container with a tight-fitting lid to prevent wind or animals from scattering it.

Again, while the POA is not directly responsible for individual owner’s trash bins, we are committed to fostering a sense of community responsibility. In light of recent bear encounters that have resulted in trash being strewn about, we want to emphasize to all homeowners the importance of properly securing their trash bins to mitigate the risk of attracting wildlife and preventing unwanted incidents. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that we appreciate those full-time owners who have stopped to help their neighbors by cleaning up the mess when they see it – but at the same time, we recognize that doing so over and over again gets tiresome, and ultimately shouldn’t be the responsibility of others. In the spirit of maintaining a clean, supportive, and collegial community, we would like to remind all homeowners of the following steps to ensure responsible waste management:

• Secure Trash Bins: Please ensure that trash bins are securely fastened and not easily accessible to wildlife. You may wish to contact SSC to inquire about the availability of bear-proof bins.
• Timely Disposal: Dispose of trash on the designated collection days and avoid leaving trash bins out overnight to minimize wildlife attraction. For those who are not full-time residents, consider coordinating with a neighbor to put your bins out and return them from the street in a timely manner, or for the time being, you might consider packing trash and recycling out with you at the end of your visits until the bear moves on.
• For folks who have short-term rentals, ensure your renters are aware of the recent bear issues and encourage them to properly secure trash when they leave.
• Report Bear Encounters: If homeowners encounter bears or any other wildlife within the community, please report the incident to the appropriate local authorities or animal control agencies promptly.

Thanks, everyone – we’ll be in touch again soon.

Jeff Sabado
President, Glacier Spring Property Owners’ Association

Water Update for June 26

Dear Members,
A quick update on our water system. The board is working hard on multiple fronts to help address our community’s water systems issues. As many of you know from your own experience building and maintaining your properties in Glacier Springs, it is often difficult to get contractors out to our area, and that is equally true when dealing with specialized/niche services like water systems and engineering firms. But here is brief update on our progress:

• We have spoken to several engineering firms who have been helpful in guiding our future direction. Some firms have expressed their willingness to help; others have referred us to other firms. We are exploring all/any vendor options, but the list of qualified firms is very small.
• We’ve had productive briefing with the firm that helped with our 2007 water main and tank replacement project. The firm principal is quite familiar with our system, and we are coordinating a site visit within the next two weeks.
• We have another firm that also expressed a willingness to help and has come highly recommended from multiple sources.
• We have a contractor that we’ve spoken to for some short-term remediation efforts designed to provide greater seals to our spring tanks and increase areas for ground-water run-off near the tanks. We need to confirm these measures are advisable with the water system engineering firm, as well as a geological engineering firm since it will include moving earth from around the spring source. All of this work will be coordinated with the Department of Health as well.
• All firms have urged us to exercise patience and recognize that whatever solutions we move forward with, it will likely take time to have the work engineered, permitted, and constructed. Timelines will be drawn once plans are set.
• While it is too soon to make the determination whether any treatment system is necessary, we are exploring all options including chemical and UV systems.

Community Meeting
• Our intention remains to have a community meeting as soon as we have completed at least one engineering site visit and have a recommendation from an engineering firm.

Recent Testing
• We continue to test the water system bi-weekly. After the rains four weeks ago, we had a very minor detection of coliform in one of the eight testing locations. Otherwise, the tests have been clean.
• The boil water advisory remains in effect per DOH guidance.

We appreciate everyone’s patience. Like you, the board and volunteers on our water task force are homeowners and working diligently to get this solved as quickly as possible. We are committed to the long-term health of our residents and our water system.

Water Update 3/4/2023

The update for today is that the contractor did come out to Glacier Springs on Wednesday afternoon as planned to scope the project. They will do the cleaning work on the tanks as soon as they are able. The current issue is the snow – they can’t get their equipment/work vehicle up the hill to the tanks at the moment. The weather/temperature looks to improve as we move through the weekend and into the first part of next week, so they’re thinking maybe Monday/Tuesday, again depending on Mother Nature. Both tanks will clean both inside and out, and then apply the (hopefully, final) system disinfection at that same time.

Water System Update – Tuesday, 2/28

Hello, everyone –

The good news is that the second round of test results have been received, and again, we are negative for E Coli. The slightly less good news is that we still have trace amounts of coliform in one of the two storage tanks. This means that we are unable to safely lift the boil water notice at this time. The next – and hopefully final – steps are to have the tanks themselves cleaned inside and out, followed by one final round of system disinfection. We contacted a contractor today to get the tank cleanup work completed; they will be out tomorrow to scope the work and provide a timeline for its completion. We will of course continue to keep you all informed as these final remediation steps are completed.

Glacier Springs Water Update – Thurs 2/23/2023

As most owners know, we have been under a boil-water order since last Friday, February 16, due to a positive test result for E Coli and cloriform in the system. In addition to email and our Facebook group, we are also providing updates here on our public website page. We have made every effort possible to reach all owners and users of GS water via online updates, email, and door-hanger notices at homes in the community. If you have still been missed, we encourage you to provide your email address, along with your name and Glacier Springs street address (for verification purposes) to info@glaciersprings.org to ensure you are included on future emergency communications. 

Water System Update:

I just spoke with our water operator about some test results we just received. Tests were taken in 5 locations around the system after the cleaning work done on Monday. All were negative for E Coli, and only one location was positive for coliform. While this is a big improvement, we continue to work on maintenance and cleaning of the system to remediate that positive coliform result. Per DOH guidelines we need two consecutive negative (clean) test results to remove the boil-water order. To that end:

  • One more sample was submitted today to the lab/DOH for verification we are clean of E Coli.
  • Additional tests will be taken tomorrow (Friday) in 8 testing locations; we would expect to have those results back on Monday from the lab.
  • If those tests all come back negative, that would be our second all clear; so, we would be able to lift the boil order early next week.

Again, thanks for your patience – this has been trying for all of us. On behalf of the board, I’d like to express my appreciation to those who have been working on the issue since last week, and to those community members who volunteered so quickly to distribute door hangers on Monday, as well as those who have shared information with others by word of mouth. Every little bit helps!

Jeff Sabado
President, Glacier Springs Property Owners’ Association