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Baker City Looks To Ensure Water Safety During Treatment Plant Construction

OPB | Dec. 11, 2013 3:35 p.m. | Updated: Dec. 12, 2013 1:40 p.m. | Bend, Oregon

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Baker City is moving forward with a short-term plan to treat its drinking water for the disease-causing parasite, cryptosporidium.  The plan would bridge the gap while a new state-of-the-art ultraviolet treatment plant is completed.

Since that plant won’t come online until late next year, city officials are looking at used UV equipment.

City Manager Mike Kee admits that if the temporary system being considered were a car, you’d likely call it a gas guzzler.  Compared to the yet-to-be-completed 3 million dollar facility, he says this one is highly inefficient.  But he says for the short term, it’s more reliable than a jalopy and at just 130 thousand dollars, the price is right.  Kee thinks a temporary system not just help remove cryptosporidium, but also a lingering sense of distrust that followed an outbreak in August that sickened many.

“This is very important to be able to report back to people that this is safe water and what happened last summer, won’t happen again,” said Kee.

City Council could approve the purchase as early as next month.  Kee says it’s not clear what would become of the system once the permanent plant comes online.  

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