Salem issues 'don't drink' tap water warning for infants, children over cyanotoxin levels

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SALEM, Ore. – The City of Salem issued a “do not to drink” tap water warning Tuesday for children, infants, pregnant mothers, those with compromised immune systems, other vulnerable people, and pets after tests found low levels of cyanotoxins in the water.

The advisory applies to City of Salem, City of Turner, Suburban East Salem Water District, and Orchard Heights Water Association.

Authorities say that boiling the water doesn’t remove the toxins and can actually increase the toxin levels. Most filters do not remove the toxins either.

People should give their children bottled water for drinking, making infant formula, ice or food preparation until the advisory is lifted.

Drinking water with cyanotoxins can cause an upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, and possible liver and kidney damage.

Animals can also be affected, so consider giving your pets a different source of water and call your vet if they show signs of illness.

The cyanotoxin advisory come just days after the Oregon Health Authority detected toxic blue-green algae in Detroit Lake. The source of the city’s water is Detroit Reservoir.

You can still shower and wash your hands, clothes and dishes with the tap water, however, kids and small children should be supervised during bath time to make sure they don’t accidentally ingest any of the water.

According to the city, water samples taken on May 23 and 25 came back with levels of cyanotoxins that that are above the EPA's Cyanotoxins National Drinking Water Health Advisories.

Students will be provided with bottled water at schools.

Salem grocery stores quickly sold out of bottled water hours after the city of Salem issued the advisory.

The city of Salem said it will update people on the water quality by Thursday.

From the City of Salem:

Children under the age of six, people with compromised immune systems, people receiving dialysis treatment, people with pre-existing liver conditions, pets, pregnant women or nursing mothers, or other sensitive populations should follow this advisory. At this time, people not on this list may continue to drink the water unless additional messaging is received. Please visit for the most up to date information.

Drinking water containing cyanotoxins at levels exceeding the national drinking water Health Advisories can put you at risk of various adverse health effects including upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea as well as liver and kidney damage. Seek medical attention if you or family members are experiencing illness.

From Salem-Keizer Public Schools:

On Tuesday afternoon, we received notice that due to algae blooms in the Detroit reservoir, it is advised that children ages 5 and under not drink water from the City of Salem. At the direction of the Oregon Health Authority, this applies to children age 5 and under as well as anyone who is pregnant, nursing, receiving dialysis or immunocompromised. This does not apply to water in the City of Keizer, as it comes from a different supply. It also does not apply to county locations that use wells for their water supply. We will offer bottled water in our schools for students in pre-K through first grade and for medically fragile or pregnant students and staff. Out of an abundance of caution, we are also adjusting how we prepare our meals. We will engage our industry experts to help keep our community healthy and safe. For more information and helpful facts, please visit the City of Salem’s website at

El martes por la tarde, recibimos el aviso de que, debido a la proliferación de algas en el depósito de Detroit, se recomienda que los niños menores de 5 años no beban agua proveniente de la ciudad de Salem. Bajo la dirección de las autoridades del departamento Oregon Health Authority, esta recomendación aplica a los niños menores de 5 años, así como a cualquier persona que padece inmunodepresión. Esta recomendación no aplica al agua de la ciudad de Keizer, ya que proviene de un suministro diferente. Esta recomendación tampoco aplica a las ubicaciones de los condados que usan pozos para su suministro de agua. Ofreceremos agua embotellada en nuestras escuelas para estudiantes de preescolar a primer grado y para estudiantes y personal escolar médicamente frágil. Como medida de gran precaución, también estamos haciendo ajustes en la forma en que preparamos los alimentos. Contactaremos con nuestros expertos para ayudar a mantener a nuestra comunidad sana y segura. Para obtener más información y datos útiles, visite el sitio web de la Ciudad de Salem en

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