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1. I appreciate OPB’s focus on drinking water safety – Drinking Water and other environmental Public Health safety efforts are the leading reason for our lengthened life expectancy.
2. As the Administrator of Oregon’s Environmental Public Health Office, I agree w/ Ms. Barlow’s advocacy for investment in public water, especially for protecting our source waters. It is both terrifically expensive and impractical to try to engineer or treat our way to clean drinking water.
3. In Oregon, there are about 3600 public water systems: everything from the City of Ptld to the Forest Service campground you visit in the summer. Through Oregon’s SDWA, State/Local PH inspects and regulates those systems for the 92 contaminants required by the EPA. That said, there are many more than 92 possible contaminants, and even for those that are regulated, advancing science has resulted in lowering the permissible level of contamination.
4. More than 90% of Oregon public water systems are very small: they serve fewer than 500 people each. Not surprisingly, many of those systems struggle to consistently and reliably meet SDWA requirements.
5. About 600,000 Oregonians rely on private well water; unlike the public systems, private wells are not regulated or systematically protected.
6. We must continue to invest in Oregon’s water: we are drinking the same water the dinosaurs drank and there is no such thing as someone else’s water is polluted but not mine. B/c of the closed loop hydrologic system, all water is recycled.
Gail Shibley, JD
Environmental Public Health Administrator
State of Oregon, Oregon Health Authority
posted 3 years, 3 months ago
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