Kari Colvard, left, and Kimberly Bullock load cases of water Wednesday afternoon at Safeway in Baker City. (John Collins/WesCom News Service)
City donating water to Baker City residents
Eight confirmed cases of cryptosporidium have been confirmed in Baker City residents the past two days, and more possible cases have been reported but the City of La Grande is not having any such problems.
Cryptosporidium is a waterborne illness that can cause persistent watery diarrhea, stomach cramps and a fever, symptoms that in some cases mimic the flu.
La Grande City Manager Robert Strope said the city received some calls from concerned
La Grande residents, but they do not have any cause for concern.
“The City of La Grande does not have any issues with our water,” Strope said.
In fact, two tankers are transporting water from
“To help them out what we’ve done is we have a sterilized tanker that we sent over,” said Norm Paullus, La Grande Public Works director. “They have a water tanker. We had to sterilize it, we loaded it up and sent it over.”
Paullus said the two tankers are operating on a relay system, being refilled in La Grande when empty.
“We’ll continue to assist as long as they need it,” Paullus said.
La Grande water comes from groundwater wells, far from the reaches of animals who may be carrying the parasite. Baker City’s water source comes from surface water in the mountains where animal droppings could have infected the water.
La Grande’s water is being offered to Baker City residents for free.
Paullus said he was in Baker City on Thursday where some stores and restaurants have closed their doors because of the water situation. Others are offering only bottled water and bottled soda.
Although the source of the infections has not been confirmed, Baker City’s drinking water is suspected, and city officials recommend residents boil tapwater that is to be consumed or used for cooking, washing dishes or brushing teeth, Baker City City Manager Mike Kee said Wednesday.
The city will be flushing its water system over the next several days, according to a press release.
The city also has closed Sam-O Swim Center to drain and clean the pool.
Kee said city officials are taking water samples to be tested. Results should be in late Friday or Saturday.