SUGAR CITY, Idaho (KIFI) - The Big Springs Water Company is now the court appointed custodian of the Island Park Water Company's (IPWC) assets.
The Department of Environmental Quality issued the decision Sept.15. Since then, the owner of Big Springs tells Local News 8 they've been fixing problems in the water system and preparing the company for sale.
"The main goal is trying to get those significant deficiencies in the water system so that we can get the boil orders hopefully taken away," Big Springs owner and operator Dustin Parkinson said. "That's a process. Of course, we've got to follow all the DEQ regulations and rules and those can only be lifted when we've met those obligations. So we're we're working closely with the DEQ, assessing the ones that we can fix quickly."
Island Park homeowners we spoke to this June told us the system has had problems for years.
But the extent of those problems was only discovered by the DEQ earlier in October of last year.
In May, Water Quality Specialist Kelsey Carter told Local News 8 there are over 99 significant problems in the water system. She outlined what would need to happen in order for the water boil to be lifted.
"The source of the contamination would have to be identified first and corrections made to prevent contamination from entering the system again," Carter said. "Those inspections that I did back in October, those identified significant deficiencies. Significant deficiencies are things that could also be causing the entrance of contamination into the system. So repairing those significant deficiencies could impact the E.coli issue."
According to the DEQ appointment press release, Big Springs will be responsible for dissolving the IPWC and ensuring IPWC’s seven public drinking water systems are operating properly.
Those systems include:
- Valley View Subdivision
- Aspen Ridge Subdivision
- Shotgun North
- Shotgun Cherokee Subdivision 5
- Shotgun Kickapoo Subdivision 6
- Shotgun South Stevens Lane
- Goose Bay Estates
As the weather gets colder, Big Springs tells us they're racing to repair as much of the system as possible before their window closes.
"There's really small things that that don't meet the rule," Parkinson said. "And then there's really large things. And so we're kind of addressing the things that we can fix that don't cost a lot of money and that we can do quickly and start whittling away at that deficiency list. Hopefully with doing those things and doing some more sampling, we can start to work these boil orders off."
He tells us they're working to finish all the repairs they can, but their receivership only lasts 60 days.
Which means some homeowners may need to wait until after winter for a new owner to come in and finish the repairs to the water system.
Why the DEQ selected Big Springs Water Company
Dustin Parkinson is also the owner of the Mountain West Water Works Company, which manages water systems all over east Idaho.
When the Department of Environmental Quality began looking for a receiver Parkinson developed the Big Springs Water Company to temporarily operate, manage and repair IPWC's system.
Through his work at Mountain West Parkinson has over 10 years of experience managing water systems.
"We have the experience on my Mountain West Water Works Company side to be able to work with Big Springs Water Company to get these repairs done," Parkinson said.
He said the two companies are unconnected asides from his ownership. Once the receivership ends he will dissolve the Big Springs Water Company.
What comes next for the Island Park Water Company case
While the system in Island Park is now under new management, the legal troubles for the previous owner are far from over.
The company is still under investigation by the Public Utilities Commission and DEQ.
Local News 8 will continue to follow this story and keep you up to date on the case.