Water Quality in Salem, Oregon
Watershed: Croisan Creek – Willamette River
What is the water quality like in Salem, OR?
Let’s dive deeper into what’s in Salem water.
What’s in Salem water?
Here are the top 3 chemical compounds in your water and what health issues they can potentially cause:
- Haloacetic acids – Potential effect: Cancer
- Hexavalent Chromium – Potential effect: Cancer
- Total trihalomethanes – Potential effect: Cancer
These are three of the 13 contaminants analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (ewg.org).
These 3 contaminants are rated as exceeding EWG Health Guidelines.
See the What Can You Do? section below for all of the contaminants you can filter out and how to do it.
Where does Salem’s water come from?
Salem’s water comes from the Croisan Creek – Willamette River watershed.
All 7 EPA assessed water sources in the Croisan Creek – Willamette River watershed are in Impaired condition. These include:
- Croisan Creek – Willamette River
- Pringle Creek
- Rickreall Creek
- Shelton Ditch
- Willamette River – two segments
- Willamette Slough
Ideally, a water source would be rated in Good condition.
Whether a water source is in Impaired or Good condition refers to the quality of these uses:
- Drinking Water
- Aquatic Life
- Fish and Shellfish Consumption
Learn more from How’s My Waterway
See below for what you can do to improve Salem’s water.
Conclusion – What Can You Do?
Information about water quality can be surprising.
But there’s no reason to lose hope. There are things you can do in your household as well as things you can do at a community level.
In Your Household:
- Use Berkey filters with activated carbon to filter out 10 of the 13 contaminants in your drinking water.
- To filter out 11 of the 13 contaminants, consider a Reverse Osmosis water filtration system for your house.
- These are more expensive than pitchers to purchase, but can be more effective.
- They have the benefit of filtering out heavy hitters like:
*Chlorination is an effective method of disinfecting/treating drinking water. You can then use a water filter to reduce the effects of chlorination byproducts to get the safest, cleanest water possible.
In Your Community:
Contact your local government officials and put pressure on them to invest in cleaner waterways and upgraded city water filtration and treatment.
Go to: https://www.cityofsalem.net/ to find contact information for your local officials.