SALEM, Oregon - Around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, December 16, the City of Salem switched to backup groundwater and reservoirs for drinking water following a large gasoline spill into the North Santiam River on December 15 at around 11 p.m. Water in Salem remains safe to drink thanks to these backup systems. The spill occurred several miles upstream from the City's water intake at the Geren Island Water Treatment Facility on the North Santiam River.
The intake gates at Geren Island remain closed today as staff continue to coordinate with the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environmental Quality, Oregon Health Authority, and other agencies to assess continued potential safety concerns.
The backup water sources were built to satisfy the City's water needs during these kinds of situations and are meeting demand. The City can tap into additional water stored within other aquifer storage reservoirs if the need arises. Backup water sources will continue to be used until all safety concerns are lifted.