SALEM, Ore. (AP) – The Oregon National Guard will hand out free water at 10 locations to Salem-area residents who can’t drink tap water due to toxins from an algae bloom in Detroit Lake.
Gov. Kate Brown’s office said Thursday that the water will be distributed in Salem and Stayton because of the problem at the lake, which supplies the communities with drinking water.
Officials also extended indefinitely a limited no-drink advisory for water in Oregon’s capital city.
The advisory warns that young children and people with compromised immune systems shouldn’t drink municipal water in and around the city of Salem.
It was first issued on Tuesday.
Gov. Kate Brown issued this news release Thursday:
Governor Kate Brown today directed the Oregon Military Department to provide additional and free clean water supplies to the City of Salem and Marion County. Following the announcement of a continued water advisory for vulnerable Detroit Lake water users, OMD will make available several, free water stations throughout the community starting today.
“I want to ensure safe drinking water is available to all residents of Salem and Marion County,” Governor Brown said. “Today, I’m directing Oregon’s Military Department to deploy clean water stations and provide additional support to the community as conditions continue to be closely monitored to ensure the health and safety of Detroit Lake water users.”
Beginning this afternoon, OMD will deploy 10 water stations with certified clean water at five locations throughout Salem and Stayton. More information about the specific locations of the water stations will be announced by OMD. Due to the risk to children and other vulnerable citizens created by Detroit Lake water supply conditions, Governor Kate Brown also declared an emergency for Marion and Polk Counties to make additional state resources available to the impacted communities. The declaration acknowledges the abnormal disruption of the market created by concerns around the quality of the area’s water, giving the Oregon Attorney General authority to investigate claims of price gouging by local merchants. And Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum issued the following release:
SALEM–Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today issued a consumer alert following Governor Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency for contaminated drinking water in Marion and Polk Counties.
“Our state’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on food, shelter, bottled water, fuel and other items necessary for the health, safety and welfare of Oregonians,” said Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum. “We have already received consumer complaints from Oregonians who believe they have been the victim of price gouging in the last 48 hours. Anybody else who believes they have been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, should immediately file a complaint at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.”
Price gouging refers to a dramatic price increase following an “abnormal disruption of the market,” as declared by the Governor as part of a state of emergency declaration. Under state law, merchants and wholesalers are prohibited from increasing their prices 15% or more above the amount charged immediately prior to a state of emergency.
Low levels of toxins caused by algae blooms in Detroit Lake have been discovered in Salem’s drinking water. Children under 6 years old and individuals with compromised health and immune systems should not drink tap water. Bottled water should be used for drinking, making infant formula, making ice and preparing food and beverages for the affected groups. It is not safe to boil tap water, or use a camping or faucet filter.
For more information on price gouging, please visit https://www.doj.state.or.us/consumer-protection/sales-scams-fraud/price-gouging/