A Snohomish water tower on Terrace Avenue was closed for a few weeks after a group of teenagers broke in for a swim. (Stephanie Davey / The Herald)

A Snohomish water tower on Terrace Avenue was closed for a few weeks after a group of teenagers broke in for a swim. (Stephanie Davey / The Herald)

Snohomish water supply flows again after teens’ illicit swim

A reservoir where teens took a dip in August holds some of the city’s drinking water.

SNOHOMISH — Part of the city’s water supply is back on tap, a month after teens took an unauthorized dip.

A new security system also has been set up at the Snohomish water tower following the August break-in.

At that time, a group of five teenagers cut through locks and made their way into the water tank for a swim, police said. The reservoir contains part of the city’s drinking supply.

After the breach came to light, the tower was taken out of service. It has been disinfected, and tests show that the water is safe to drink, said Steve Schuller, the city administrator and utility general manager. It’s now back in operation.

The young people filmed themselves climbing up the tank and jumping through a hatch, into the water, apparently during the daytime. They posted the footage on YouTube.

Police found out once the video began to circulate online. It has since been deleted.

Each of the culprits is around 17 years old, said Sgt. Nathan Alanis of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

All have admitted to being involved, Alanis said. The department suggested burglary charges, but the decision is ultimately up to the Snohomish County Prosecutor’s Office.

It’s not clear yet how much the cleanup will cost, Schuller said.

The city hired a diver to check out the tank — a task that takes place every few years and was due to happen anyway.

“Some of these will be normal operating costs, and some are attributed to the incident,” Schuller said.

The final bill will be sent to the county prosecutors, who will then decide whether or not the teens have to pay restitution.

Otherwise, the money will come from the city’s water utility funds.

The break-in happened on Aug. 26, and police found out the next day. The water tank was shut down soon after.

Besides hiring a diver, the city disinfected the inside of the tank, drained thousands of gallons of the water and then tested it multiple times. It was placed back online about a week ago.

The reservoir is on Terrace Avenue, in a mostly residential neighborhood. At least three different security points were breached, Schuller said.

The city has a new security system at the tank as well.

“Those systems are tied to our computers,” Schuller said. “It immediately sends out a notice, instantaneously.”

It took longer than expected to turn the water tank back on, because of some cleaning chemicals that needed time to break down.

The out-of-service tank didn’t disrupt anyone’s water supply. The water comes from the city of Everett, which supplies most of the drinking water countywide.

“We can operate without it,” Schuller said. “It does provide us extra storage in case the city of Everett can’t provide us water.”

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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