MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Mercer Island declares local emergency over water supply; bans fireworks

May 2, 2024, 1:04 PM

Photo: Mercer Island....

Mercer Island. (Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

(Photo courtesy of KIRO 7)

The city manager for Mercer Island has declared a local emergency because of water supply issues, along with banning fireworks.

The announcement comes after a pipe break last month, following a major supply line break.

On April 3, a water main leak made the ground unstable and triggered threats of a landslide, according to officials. It forced around 20 families to evacuate near Mercer Island High School, which closed for the day.

Past coverage: Mercer Island residents must restrict summer water use after pipe break

City Manager Jessi Bon signed the emergency declaration on May 1, “due to the Island’s reduced water supply while we receive water through a smaller backup line. This backup line will not keep up with summer water demand,” the City of Mercer Island wrote in a news release via a Facebook post.

Water conservation will likely start in June, according to the city. It may include reducing garden and lawn irrigation, running the dishwasher with a full load, using commercial car washes that recycle water and reducing personal water use whenever possible.

The city said water reduction may last through the summer as Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) and the city work to repair the island’s water supply line.

“I had thought there was a water shortage for all of King Couty, to find out it’s actually local to Mercer Island is surprising,” Mercer Island resident Sara Reed told MyNorthwest. “Usually the city is better about posting signage to alert residents, however, I hadn’t seen or heard of this until now.”

Along with water conservation, the city announced a fireworks ban. The city said the ban is in part because of the water supply issue, as the island doesn’t have adequate resources to fight fires.

“Remember, the use of fireworks is prohibited this July 4 under the Fire Chief’s order, however, it will remain legal to sell consumer fireworks on Mercer Island on June 28 from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and from June 29 through July 4 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.,” the city stated.

According to the city, Mercer Island is one of the few places in King County that allows at-home fireworks.

More on Mercer Island: Residents evacuated due to landslide risk allowed to return home

However, at a May 7 meeting, the Mercer City Council will decide on a permanent ban on the sale and discharge of consumer fireworks. The ordinance is backed by the city manager, the fire chief and the police chief, according to the news release.

If passed, the ban would go into effect in 2025. However, it would not ban professional fireworks displays, which require specific safety measures.

Contributing: Kate Stone, KIRO Newsradio.

Julia Dallas is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read her stories here. Follow Julia on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email her here.

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Mercer Island declares local emergency over water supply; bans fireworks