Water bottles, test kits available to Morrow County residents amid contamination
BOARDMAN, Ore. — Having clean water to drink and cook with is essential to any person’s wellbeing. That’s why safe water and testing kits are being made available to residents of Morrow County as the region experiences a serious battle with water contamination.
Starting on Tuesday, June 21, Morrow County Emergency Management is partnering with the Oregon Department of Human Services to provide safe water supplies to community members impacted by high nitrate levels in the area’s wells.
“If your household relies on a domestic well for drinking water, and that well has tested high (above 10 mg/L) for nitrates, you are eligible to receive free water during this emergency,” said Paul Gray, the county’s emergency manager. “If you haven’t yet tested but live in the area with problem wells you are encouraged to seek safe water while you secure testing.”
Two gallons per day, or 12 gallons per week, are being allocated to each person within the community who shows up to one of the following centers:
Morrow County Public Health Department: 101 Boardman Ave NW, Boardman, OR 97818
Morrow County Government Building: 215 NE Main Ave, Irrigon, OR 97844
The sites have the same hours of operation for water distribution. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, they will distribute water from 10 a.m. until Noon and from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Their morning shift and afternoon start times are the same on Fridays, except the operations shut down at 4 p.m. on the final day of the week.
Gray went on to note that the main area of concern is for community members who use private water wells. At this time, city or community drinking water sources haven’t shown high levels of nitrate like other unregulated water sources in the community.
Anyone who is unable to visit a distribution site is still eligible to receive safe water. Simply call 541-256-0514 and you will be added to the water delivery list. This service is only for people with extenuating circumstances like disabilities who cannot pick up their water supply.
Once reusable water containers are available and ready to distribute, emergency coordinators will stop offering bottled water. They have not provided a timeline on that shift as of this publishing.
Morrow County residents who own wells are also eligible to receive a free water testing kit and check their nitrate levels for free. Visit Boardman Foods at 71320 Columbia Blvd on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Free water kits are going to be given out at the Boardman Chamber of Commerce (101 Olson Rd SE) starting on June 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first three days of the workweek. Please be advised that water samples must be returned by 4 p.m. the day of your test for accurate results.
Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality has fined the Port of Morrow $2.1 million for rampant wastewater violations. This failure has largely impacted agricultural fields in Morrow and Umatilla County.
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