New Ozone Water Treatment is Working as Salem Begins 2022 Algae Season

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The City of Salem is taking steps to safeguard its drinking water in preparation for algal blooms in the North Santiam watershed. Construction of the $48 million state-of-the-art Frank Mauldin Ozone Treatment Facility at Geren Island has been completed, tested, and is up and running in 2022.

The new facility provides an added layer of protection against algae blooms, severe weather events, and wildfires in the North Santiam Watershed. Ozone is one of the strongest disinfectants used to treat water, even stronger than chlorine, and can remove cyanotoxins or other pollutants that can pose a health risk at increased levels. Ozone produces no taste or odor, and no ozone remains in the water after treatment.

The City is committed to delivering safe, reliable drinking water to its water customers and is continuing the monitoring program that has been in use since 2018. This program includes closely monitoring and sampling water in Detroit Reservoir, the North Santiam River, and drinking water as it enters the system from Geren Island’s Water Treatment Facility. Water quality test results will be shared on the City’s website at www.cityofsalem.net/drinking-water. The City coordinates with the Oregon Health Authority, Marion County Environmental Services, and the Oregon Department of Agriculture to provide residents and businesses with the best available information on potential public health issues and steps the community can take to keep their families and pets safe. 

Last year, cyanotoxins levels were nearly undetectable in the North Santiam River as it entered the Geren Island Water Treatment Facility. Slow sand filters were able to effectively filter the water entering the system without the use of ozone treatment. This year, Salem’s new ozone facility will be operated continuously as another effective tool against cyanotoxins.

Salem residents and businesses can prepare for this and other possible emergencies by signing up for Marion/Polk Alerts to receive immediate emergency notifications in English and Spanish. 

For more information, contact the City of Salem at [email protected] or 503-588-6311.

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Trevor SmithPublic Information Officer-Public Works
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