An Oregon Health Authority drinking water expert recommended against the city of Salem staff immediately issuing a do-not-drink notice after toxins were discovered in the water, emails between city and state officials show.

The emails contradict statements by the manager of OHA’s drinking water program insisting the agency never made such a recommendation. The Statesman Journal obtained the correspondences after filing public records requests with the city of Salem and OHA.

OHA Drinking Water Manager Dave Emme told the Salem City Council last week that agency officials did not recommend holding off issuing a public warning and that OHA would have supported the city if it had done so on May 25.

City officials eventually would issue a warning May 29 after tests continued to show toxin levels above safe standards for children younger than six and adults with impaired immune systems. It’s that delay that has sparked criticism leveled at officials at recent public meetings and on social media.

Read the whole story at the Statesman Journal.