Nestlé donation bolsters Salem-Keizer water emergency response
Thursday, May 31, 2018
When Salem announced a water advisory Tuesday, Salem-Keizer Public Schools started augmenting the roughly 10,000 bottles of water it had on hand.
“We bought everything we could find Tuesday afternoon and started sending it to schools Tuesday night,” said Joel Smallwood, a manager in the district’s facilities services.
The district estimated it needed roughly 20,000 bottles a day for students younger than 6 and medically vulnerable students and staff, the populations advised not to drink Salem’s tap water. Drinking fountains remain open for students not at risk.
On Thursday, Nestlé Waters North America greatly bolstered the district’s supplies by donating approximately 70,000 bottles, roughly doubling the water the district had available.
“They’ve been extremely responsive and generous,” said Michael Wolfe, Salem-Keizer Public Schools chief operations officer. He said Nestlé has offered to continue to help.
With no indication from the city of when the water might be OK again, Wolfe said the district is trying to secure enough bottled water to last through the end of the school year.
Salem maintained its vulnerable population water advisory Thursday. Detroit Reservoir algae blooms created low levels of cyanotoxins in treated drinking water. Boiling and filtering do not remove the cyanotoxins. Young children, pets, pregnant or nursing women and people with compromised immune systems, liver conditions or undergoing dialysis treatment are advised to use bottled water.
The city says tap water is safe for healthy adults and healthy children over the age of 6. The water is also safe for washing and doing laundry.
Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday declared an emergency for Marion and Polk counties and directed the Oregon Military Department to provide free clean water to Marion County. The department planned to deploy water stations Thursday in the Salem area.