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June 02, 2018

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You have brought up good information that I have heard in conversations of people I know.
It is disturbing that Salem’s Mayor, city councilors and the public weren’t notified.
Lack of transparency, yes.
Is it the first?

Were it not for the fact that Council has only recently evolved into an intelligent group that cares about the welfare of all of Salem's residents from a group that a reasonable person might justifiably consider withholding sensitive information from, I would say that Mr. Powers'es failure is a fireable offense. Mr. Fernandez should not be held responsible for the failure to inform Council in a timely manner.
The speed at which the City acted was justified as being within the EPA window. This line of thinking should be re-examined. In general, EPA standards tend to be less restrictive so as to avoid conflicts with other jurisdictions within a context of environmental issues that can be difficult to be concise about due to the complexity and inexactness of relevant science. Under the current administration, the legitimacy of EPA guidance seems to be even less reliable. In the case of the bacterial contamination, the EPA's 10 day window was just as irrelevant on day 3 as it was on day 5. A new and serious threat appeared that obviously demanded immediate action.
During the special meeting, it was stated that Salem received permission to increase their use of chlorine. I do not know if that is why levels of the bacteria have decreased to the point where the water is supposedly safe to drink, but I suspect that that may be the case. I wonder if the higher levels of chlorine will be required in the future and, if so, for how long. The last city water report that I saw listed "residual disinfectants" as exceeding federal standards. This somewhat concerns me even though I stopped drinking Salem water about 2 years ago when I often noticed the odor of disinfectant when I turned on the tap.

Thank you for sharing all this. I had been looking for more information. I fall into the category of Salemites that is still stuck somewhere between "super pissed" and "lacking faith" moving forward.

Like you, what was most upsetting is what this event showed us about our City's ability to handle a problem. To know that our city, the capital of the STATE didn't even have a plan for a problem that has been years in the making honestly floored me. Detroit Lake has been having blooms most summers for the last DECADE! You weren't actively working on a solution for WHEN that algae would make it's way into our drinking water? All this time you weren't even addressing this? Or better yet, you weren't working on a way head it off before it happened, since it was BOUND TO HAPPEN?

Watching how this unfolded, reminded me of what my brother used to say about Salem before we even had moved here. That everything in this town is For Developers and By Developers. No public need or community desire will ever foil the glory that is their bottom line!

I've signed up for old school spring water deliveries while I figure out if I can trust the city to be honest about what we're drinking.

Sigh.

Kurt, thank you for the info re: additional chorine. I had noticed an unusual smell immediately after the ban was lifted, but due to allergies was not able to determine what the chemical was. They should have made that info available as well.
Takeaway: We can no longer trust our city to do the right thing. This WILL be addressed at the polls.

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