Drink up: Salem tap water advisory lifted

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SALEM, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Salem lifted the tap water advisory for its “vulnerable population” after clean test results came back Saturday.

Officials said at 12:44 p.m Saturday that the advisory was lifted for Salem, Turner, the Suburban East Salem Water District and the Orchard Heights Water Association.

Samples of drinking water from Wednesday and Thursday, May 30-31, showed the toxin levels are below the health advisory level. Officials said the City of Salem will update the water sample data later Saturday and will continue to test and sample for water quality.

They also said if levels spike they will again issue an advisory. Meanwhile they will “continue to work on new approaches to Salem’s water infrastructure to ensure safe drinking water.”

What to do now that the advisory is lifted

Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett issued a statement of thanks: 

We recognize the water advisory impacted many, and we thank you for your patience.  We also thank all who stepped forward to help during the advisory period.  It has served as a reminder of why we choose to reside and do business in Salem.  We are constantly impressed by the willingness of others to readily support those in need.  We know there are many individuals, businesses, and agencies who willingly donated time and resources.

We have heard countless stories of neighbors helping neighbors.  Those who came forward with assistance are too numerous to individually name and thank.  We would like to particularly recognize several for their important contributions.  

Earlier

Two days of positive results were required before the advisory could be lifted, officials said. The advisory — due to the detection of cyanotoxins in the water — was in effect for children under 6, pregnant and nursing women and others with certain medical conditions. Healthy adults are not affected.

Do Not Boil the tap water. Boiling the water will not destroy cyanotoxins and may increase the toxin levels.

Gov. Kate Brown declared a State of Emergency and ordered the Oregon National Guard to set up free clean water stations in Salem and Stayton. Those water stations began operating Thursday evening.

On the City of Salem website, City Manager Steve Powers said they’re “working day and night to ensure people have access to clean and safe drinking water.”

They also have a list of Frequently Asked Questions, including who is affected, why is there an advisory and why was the advisory issued Tuesday and not sooner?

For information regarding the advisory, residents can call 503.588.6133. For health-related information during the advisory, residents can call 211.

The City of Wilsonville said Friday its water supply was also tested for contaminants and trace amounts of cyanotoxin and microcystin were found. The city is doing further testing and will determine if an advisory is necessary, but as of now there is no advisory. 

West Linn-Wilsonville and Sherwood schools have brought in bottled water for anyone in the group under advisory in Marion County.

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