Salem-area tap water advisory to remain in effect through Sunday


A tap water advisory will remain in effect through at least Sunday in the Salem area for young children, vulnerable adults and pets.

The city of Salem announced through a video released on Friday that they are extending the advisory through at least Sunday.

In the video, City Manager Steve Powers said they "have been tracking the algae bloom in the Detroit Reservoir since May.” Powers also apologized that the advisory caused panic among residents.

"I regret that the timing of the advisory has caused concern and I sincerely apologize if that concern has eroded the confidence in your water system," said Powers.

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.

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.

24-hour water fill stations setup in nearby Keizer after unsafe levels of cyanotoxins found in Salem treated drinking water. Advisory from the city says it’s especially dangerous to drink for children, those with poor immune systems and pregnant/nursing moms.— Tyler Dumont FOX 12 (@TylerDumontNews) May 31, 2018

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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