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Salem Officials Increase Water Treatment After Algae Bloom In Detroit Lake

OPB | Aug. 8, 2014 3:16 p.m. | Portland

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Officials in the city of Salem say they’ve been forced to treat drinking water, to reduce the threat from algae that bloomed in Detroit Lake.

Water quality officials say blue-green algae regularly appears in the reservoir. But water quality supervisor, Lacey Goeres-Priest, says it’s the first time a toxin in the algae has been detected entering the treatment facility.

Goeres-Priest says the city is using natural organisms to filter the water, and using wells to supplement Salem’s drinking water. She says, so far, so good.

“So in addition to testing the raw water, the source water coming into our water treatment facility, we’ve tested the water post-filtration, as well as the finished water, or the water that would come to folks’ homes and taps, and there’s been nothing that’s been detected in post-filtered water, or finished water.”

Goeres-Priest says the city is reluctant to treat the water chemically, because it could harm both harmful and beneficial organisms in the water. The city plans to continue treating and supplementing the water, and it tests clear of the toxin. 

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