Lake Forest Park Water District serves a fiscally conservative, upper middle class single family dwelling community that is environmentally and fiscally conscious and values minimal treatment, and minimal infrastructure outlay. While the District has benefited from innovative Commissioners who have done a good job of implementing these values, a tendency to defer costly upgrades and replacements is now placing strain on the District as it struggles to fund projects whose cost could have been amortized over the last five decades. The old 16 gauge steel water mains installed in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s are experiencing increased corrosion failures, even as the installed steel footage is being reduced by replacement projects. Nearly 53% of the steel piping has been replaced with approximately 5.5 miles remaining.
Water quality has also emerged as a significant concern. The District has worked to maintain compliance with State coliform requirements without disinfection. The lack of disinfection also limits the ability to increase revenue by wholesaling water to nearby utilities. However, from informal customer feedback, there is strong support for chlorine-free water, and it remains a cornerstone feature of the District’s identity with customers. It is also noted that residents in neighboring areas frequent Lake Forest Park to obtain natural, chlorine-free water. The District recently constructed a standby chlorination system to rapidly respond to future bacterial events without requiring full time chlorination. In addition, the District is prepared to separately treat water for wholesaling. This system is considered to be the best way to preserve the integrity of the District motto “Good Water – Naturally” while meeting State requirements for water quality in the interim. In the long term, the District may consider non-chlorine options for disinfection, including ozonation.