City awaits test results as people in Salem area deal with tap w - KPTV - FOX 12

City awaits test results as people in Salem area deal with tap water advisory

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SALEM, OR (KPTV) -

Bottled water has been flying off the shelves due to a tap water advisory issued in the Salem area.

The advisory was issued Tuesday due to low levels of toxins found in treated drinking water. The toxins were created by algae blooms in Detroit Lake, the source of the city of Salem’s drinking water.

City leaders said Wednesday they are working to get the toxins out of the water and are hopeful that test results will allow the advisory to be lifted Thursday.

The toxins were detected in water supplied to the city of Salem, the city of Turner, the Suburban East Salem Water District and Orchard Heights Water Association. The city of Stayton announced it would be taking the same precautions as those areas, as well.

The advisory is for children under the age of 6 years old, people with compromised immune systems, people receiving dialysis treatment, people with pre-existing liver conditions, pets, pregnant women or nursing mothers or other sensitive populations.

As word spread of the advisory, bottled water became a popular commodity. The city of Keizer created an online list of places where people affected by the advisory could get water. Keizer water is not included in the advisory.

At a Fred Meyer store in Salem, the day began with 25 pallets of bottled water stacked 6 feet high.

Within two hours, the pallets had been cleaned out.

A line at Costco stretched around the side of the building before the store even opened Wednesday.

Columbia Distributing reported being inundated with requests for water, sports drinks and fruit drinks.

The company sent at least 900 cases of water to the Salem area from its Portland warehouse, on top of what workers normally stock.

Some restaurants, like a Chipotle location of Lancaster Drive, elected to close down for the day.

At Little Connolly Bakery, workers had to make quick adjustments.

“I get here this morning and my boss tells me that we are not going to do any of our coffees or any of our coffee products and we are not going to be baking, making any doughs with the water right now,” said Michael Wilson.

Wilson said he’s heard of people driving up to Woodburn to get water.

The Salem-Keizer School District took extra precautions due to the advisory Wednesday, as did senior care centers.

“We always prepare for disasters, any sort of disasters so that we are always ready to jump into action right away - so we were able to get enough water to all the residents and then get more delivered,” said Jennifer Coker, the executive director of Brookdale Senior Living, an assisted living facility in Stayton.

The city of Salem reported that boiling the tap water will not destroy the toxins and most water filters and purifiers will not remove it from the drinking water.

Everyone may use tap water for showering, bathing, washing hands, washing dishes, flushing toilets, cleaning and doing laundry. However, infants and young children under the age of six should be supervised while bathing and during other tap water-related activities to prevent accidental ingestion of water.

More information is available at cityofsalem.net.

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