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The Salem water advisory…how does it relate to your water?

Earlier this week, the City of Salem issued a health advisory to their drinking water customers due to the detection of algal toxins (cyanotoxins) in their treated drinking water. Cyanotoxins are by-products of certain algae species that grow in water, and which can bloom predominantly in warm, stagnant water during the summer months. 
Salem’s drinking water originates from the North Santiam River downstream of Detroit Lake, and the advisory issued in Salem does not apply to customers of Medford Water Commission (MWC), nor to any of the cities serving water provided by MWC including Central Point, Eagle Point, Jacksonville, Phoenix and Talent. Nonetheless, we wanted to provide our customers with a little more information on this issue, with relation to our system.
  • MWC’s water comes from two high-quality sources. Our primary source, Big Butte Springs, originates from underground and does not have any algae present nor any risk of algal toxins. The remainder of our water comes from the Rogue River, which is not as prone to algal blooms as other bodies of water.
  • ​Oregon Health Authority supplies algal toxin monitoring kits when they receive reports of algal blooms upstream of our intake. To date, algal toxins have not been detected in our water supply.
  • MWC uses ozone (in addition to other processes) to treat the Rogue River water. Ozone is one of the most effective treatment methods for destroying algal toxins and creates an effective barrier against algal toxins.
  • MWC will be monitoring for algal toxins twice per month throughout the summer season to safeguard public health.
For more information, call (541) 774-2728, or see the Environmental Protection Agency's Frequently Asked Questions about Harmful Algal Blooms and Cyanotoxins.
Additional information about our treatment process can be found here.

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