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County Health Department says repairs continue on Oak Grove water problem

According to a March 1 press release from the Hood River County Health Department, efforts to repair the cracked spring box of the Oak Grove Water company are continuing and that it has no plans to pursue enforcement actions against the company.

Cracks in the spring box allowed E. coli to enter the water supply for the Oak Grove Water District, resulting in a water boil which has been effect for over three months.

“Oak Grove Water Company submitted a repair plan to the Oregon State Drinking Water Program (part of the Oregon State Health Authority),” the County stated. “This plan was approved and it is now the responsibility of Oak Grove Water Company to make these repairs, allowing the boil water advisory to be lifted.”

Residents connected to the Oak Grove Water company must continue to bring all water used for drinking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing dishes, and food preparation to a rolling boil for at least one minute in order to kill bacteria. Those with difficulty accessing a safe water source are encouraged to contact the County Environmental Health Department at 541-387-6885 for more information on safe water sources.

The Water Company made a previous attempt to seal the spring box, but it was found that water was still seeping underneath new walls constructed for the box.

According to the county “Oak Grove Water Company needs to seal the spring source so that contamination cannot enter the water flowing into the system. Today they are actively working on this process. After disinfecting the water system with chlorine, Oak Grove Water Company needs to demonstrate that the water is safe to drink by testing the water for fecal bacteria (E. coli). At present, we regret we are unable to provide anyone with a reliable timeline for work completion and cancellation of the boil water order. It appears that a resolution may still be weeks away. We will continue to keep users informed as the work moves forward.”

The County said it met with Tony Fields, acting manager of the Oregon Health Authority Safe Drinking Water Program, in late February to discuss options regarding the situation.

“The State Drinking Water Program feels that since Oak Grove Water Company continues to work toward resolving the issue, enforcement should not be pursued at this time,” the County press release stated. “The Oregon Health Authority may change this position if it appears that Oak Grove Water Company is unable or unwilling to continue working toward a permanent solution.”

For more information, affected users are encouraged to call Oak Grove Water Company at 541-490-7644 or visit the company’s website at oakgrovewater.com.

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