Health

Rain may help break up algae in Salem's water

SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) -- There may be some good news from Mother Nature for Salem area residents still affected by the tap water advisory.

Portland State University Professor Heejun Chang said cooler temperatures and rain could help break up the algae in the water.

"I certainly think this will reduce algae bloom because when it rains, it naturally disappears, but we'll see," Chang said.

He said our hot, dry May likely contributed to the bloom.

"Almost no precipitation in 3 consecutive weeks," he said.

He said heavy winter rain, logging and recent forest fires may have caused nutrients to flow into the [Detroit] Lake, feeding the algae. 

"Logging, deforestation, if we can better manage these forest practices, we can reduce erosion," Chang said. 

In the meantime, water filling stations have been packed this weekend with people as the drinking water advisory continues until at least Monday. 

A steady stream of people filled their bottles on Saturday. Among them was Kimberly Cruz, who said her dogs got sick last week.

"We have three dogs and I actually had all three get sick at different points," Cruz said.

The dogs were lethargic and vomiting, so she's not taking any chances.

"We are using the water even to clean our fruits and vegetables, everything," Cruz said. 

Her daughter Megan, who has some medical issues, is also being cautious. 

"Even at the store, I get really thirsty and I want a drink, but I have to stay away," Megan said. 

"Maybe we'll get enough of a storm, we really need it. We need the rain," Cruz said.

Water stations are still open 24 hours a day. 


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