Salem-area tap water advisory remains in effect; fill stations t - KPTV - FOX 12

Salem-area tap water advisory remains in effect; fill stations to open in Marion, Polk counties

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A tap water advisory will remain in effect “until further notice” in the Salem area for young children, vulnerable adults and pets.

The city of Salem announced the advisory was not being lifted Thursday due to results of the most recent tests.

The advisory was issued Tuesday for the city of Salem, the city of Turner, Suburban East Salem Water District and Orchard Heights Water Association due to toxins in the water supply created by algae blooms in Detroit Lake.

Salem city workers said tap water is safe to consume for healthy children older than six years old and healthy adults.

The Oregon National Guard was called in Thursday to help supply the city with fresh water after Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in Marion and Polk counties.

Seven stations were set up around Salem for residents in need of drinking water, including Bush's Pasture Park, which was supposed to open by 7 p.m., but didn't receive water from the National Guard until almost 9 p.m. The delay caused frustration for some residents hoping for hydration Thursday night. 

"We woke up and heard about this and my mom was like, 'hey, we have to get water,'" Taimona Massey, a Salem resident, said. 

Lindsay Flemming, who recently moved to Salem, said she was standing in line for water Thursday night because her husband is sick. 

"He has kidney problems and he was in the hospital due to this stuff," Flemming said. "He had to go get rehydrated."

The advisory applies to 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.

"We've increased our monitoring within the distribution system. We intend to continue to collect within those four distribution sample sites. Some sample locations look like they're getting better. Some are holding steady," said Lacey Goeres-Priest, Salem water quality supervisor. 

The advisory will remain in place until there are two consecutive days of safe levels, which means the soonest it could be lifted is this weekend. 

The advisory caused a run on bottled water from businesses in the Salem area. Some restaurants temporarily closed down or adjusted what they were able to prepare and serve. The Salem-Keizer School District said precautions were being taken for students and staff included in the advisory.

The city of Keizer, which is not affected by the advisory, opened water filling stations and created an online list of places people could go to get water. 

In addition to Bush's Pasture Park, two other water stations that were scheduled to receive water by 7 p.m. didn't end up opening until after 9 p.m.: Oregon State Fairgrounds and Wallace Marine Park.

Woodmansee Park, a water station the city said would have water by 9.m., didn't open until after 9:30 p.m.

The final three stations, listed below, were all open before midnight.

  • Chemeketa Community College, Brown Parking Lot, 4000 Lancaster Drive NE, Salem
  • AMF Firebird Lanes, 4303 Center Street NE, Salem
  • Former Chevrolet Dealership, 5325 Denver Street, Turner

The water distribution operation is a cooperative effort between Marion County, the city of Salem and the Oregon Military Department. 

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued a consumer alert about the situation, asking anyone who has information about potential water price gouging to call 1-877-877-9392. 

The latest water tests for the cities of Stayton, Gates, Mill City, Mehama and Lyons indicated no water advisories are necessary at this time.

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