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

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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