Oregon considers more funding to address water problems

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Legislature is considering allocating more than $1.2 million to better equip state agencies to respond to algal toxin contaminations.

The Statesman Journal reports the increased funding stems from Salem’s drinking water crisis earlier this year when city public works officials discovered elevated levels of cyanotoxins.

Water advisories were issued in May and June after toxins spiked above safe levels for vulnerable populations.

State lawmakers have recommended $160,000 for the Oregon Health Authority to fund a permanent and a temporary position in the state’s drinking water program.

The state is also recommending $750,000 for the state Department of Agriculture for laboratory equipment and a temporary position, and $380,000 for the state Department of Environmental Quality for four positions to continue cyanotoxin testing at 94 facilities.