Young children, pregnant women and other vulnerable people were advised not to drink the tap water in the Salem and Turner areas due to low levels of cyanotoxins.
The city of Salem issued an advisory Tuesday that said low levels of cylindrospermopsin and microcystin were found in treated drinking water. The toxins are created by algae blooms in Detroit Lake, the source of the city of Salem’s drinking water.
The levels of the cyanotoxins are at levels above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cyanotoxins National Drinking Water Health Advisories.
The toxins have been 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 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.
People not listed above may continue to drink the water in the affected areas, according to city workers. Information will be updated at cityofsalem.net.
People are also advised to not boil the tap water, as it will not destroy cyanotoxins and may actually increase the toxin levels.
Most water filters and purifiers will not remove this toxin from drinking water.
The Salem-Keizer School District stated bottled water would be offered in schools for pre-kindergarten through first grade, as well as for medically fragile or pregnant students and staff. The preparation of meals would also be altered, “out of an abundance of caution,” according to administrators.
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.
Workers are adjusting treatment operations to reduce concentrations of cyanotoxins as quickly as possible.
For more, go to cityofsalem.net.
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