It’s now the start of the 3rd week of water woes in Salem, ever since drinking water samples on May 23 revealed higher levels of toxic algae than acceptable.
The city issued an advisory for vulnerable people not to drink it, lifted that warning June 2, then putting it back in place.
Now the advisory will stay for 2 weeks even though latest test samples show improvement.
Salem City Manager Steve Powers said, “We are extending the water advisory until we have a solution to keep the toxins out of our water or keep the toxins at levels below the EPA guidelines.”
Meanwhile, Salem is about to try a temporary fix for the water-adding powdered activated carbon at the treatment plant, much like a home water pitcher with a carbon filter:
Water engineer Jude Grounds said, “The toxins will absorb to that carbon, will then settle that carbon out, then apply that water with reduced levels of toxins to slow sand filters for final treatment.” That carbon would be removed before the water is sent out to the public.
It’s a $2 million temporary fix they will start testing later this week.
The water woes are frustrating for water users and for Salem leaders as well.
Officials say the water is safe to drink for most residents. The advisory does apply to children under six, pregnant and nursing women, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.