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Donations pour in for community without water for nearly two weeks

MARSHALL, Wash. - For nearly two weeks, it's been one step forward and two steps back for people who live in Marshall. The 100 or so people there still can't drink their water. There are new concerns it may be contaminated with E. coli. Until further notice, crews said the water can only be used for flushing toilets. 

It can be easy to forget just how important water is. Not just for drinking, but for everyday tasks. That means not being able to do the laundry or washing dishes. It also means you can't do everyday hygiene things, like brushing your teeth or showering.

For almost two weeks now, that's what people living in Marshall are having to live without. But because of an incredible community outpour, they're getting by.

"I was on the trailer the other day and I moved it over to the truck, so I can go house to house so that people can fill up five-gallon buckets and not have to carry it very far," said Randy Mace, 63rd Battalion Washington State Militia.

This is day 11 of not having access to running water for people living in Marshall. 

"Things break, pumps break. That's a 40-year-old pump," said Jim Brown, president of Marshall Community Water Association.

First the city was dealing with a bad hardware. They replaced it, but now there's an issue of whether or not that water is safe. Leaving them, once again, without usable water

"A lot of people take for granted what water really is and when a well goes bad like this. It does create quite an inconvenience," Brown said.

Residents have had to get creative, at times, to get by.

"We were out of water. But we just pulled together. We just found places where we can go shower. I actually bathed out of my hot tub one night with the hot tub water, just to get by," Brown said.

It's an inconvenience. But it's one the community is trying to help with as much as they can.

"We did a rough count of about 800 cases of water and I'm not sure if that even counts the gallon jugs we've got," Brown said.

The amount of donations the Marshall Water Association received was overwhelming.

"Water, paper plates, plastic forks, knives, spoons, hand wipes, paper towels, bleach," Brown said.

Where the donations were coming from was incredible.

"There were people who came from Deer Park, I had the Coulee City Water Works director call me, I had Airway Heights Public Works guy call me," Brown said.

That's just to name a few. As of Monday, the water association has enough water to supply the city for the rest of the week.

"30 packs, gallon jugs, 32-ounce bottles, 55-gallon-drums," Brown said.

The city is hoping there aren't more days to come coping without usable water. But for now, people are making it work thanks to the kindness of others. 

"We only bought 40 cases of water the first day, and after that, the trucks just didn't stop," Brown said.

The water association is going to be running tests on the water this week to determine if it's safe. In order for that to happen, the water needs to pass two tests from five different locations in Marshall. Once the results are in, residents will be notified.

If you'd like to donate water, they're greatly appreciated. But they ask that you call Jim Brown first at 509-342-0744. They say they think they have enough water to last them through the week.

If you are a Marshall resident and need water, the water association said they have plenty. All you have to do is go to the distribution center. They have bottled water and water you can fill buckets with to use at home. The water association said only half of the community has been taking advantage of the donations. 



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