Oregon Department of Justice

Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum

Oregon Department of Justice - Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
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OREGON PUBLIC HEALTH AND THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WORK TO BRING SAFE WATER TO A LINCOLN COUNTY PUBLIC WATER SYSTEM

April 21, 2011

Rose Lodge Water Company in Otis was supplying unsafe drinking water to hundreds of its customers

The Oregon Public Health Division along with Attorney General John Kroger today announced a Lincoln County Circuit Court ruling ordering the immediate sale of an Otis water company that provided untreated, untested and unfiltered water to about 600 homes in violation of the Oregon Drinking Water Quality Act.

Lincoln County Circuit Court Judge Sheryl Bachart has signed an order requiring the appointment of a special master, or supervisory authority, to oversee the immediate sale of Rose Lodge Water Company, Inc., a public water system that supplied untreated surface water that potentially exposed people to numerous harmful pathogens and chemicals.

"We are confident that now the residents of this area will soon have a water system that provides safe drinking water," said Gail Shibley, Administrator of the Oregon Health Authority's Office of Environmental Public Health.

The Oregon Department of Justice worked with the Oregon Health Authority's Environmental Public Health Office to enforce drinking water quality standards. The extensive investigation found that, for at least two years, Rose Lodge Water Company delivered untreated, untested and unfiltered water to its customers. During that time, several consumers experienced illnesses that may have been caused by ingesting the water, including diarrhea, abdominal cramping, flu-like symptoms and extended periods of stomach sickness and digestive problems, according to affidavits in the case.

The court case came after Rose Lodge failed to respond to a series of attempted administrative actions by Oregon Public Health officials, including issuing notices of violations and assessing civil penalties. The action announced today will ensure that Rose Lodge is sold to a responsible party that will improve the systems to provide safe water. The Oregon Office of Environmental Public Health will continue monitoring the system.

"Oregonians should not have to second guess whether their drinking water is safe. There is absolutely no excuse for compromising public health," said Attorney General Kroger.

Senior Assistant Attorneys General Shannon O'Fallon and Stephanie Parent handled the case for the Oregon Department of Justice in conjunction with Joseph Carlson from the Oregon Health Authority.

Attorney General John Kroger leads the Oregon Department of Justice. The Department's mission is to fight crime and fraud, protect the environment, improve child welfare, promote a positive business climate, and defend the rights of all Oregonians.

Public water systems such as Rose Lodge are protected under Oregon's Drinking Water Quality Act, to minimize the public health risk from contaminants in drinking water. The Oregon Drinking Water program emphasizes prevention of contamination through source water protection, provision of technical assistance to water systems, and provides water system operator training so that Oregonians have safe drinking water.

The Oregon Drinking Water program lists all of it inspection and violation data on line. Oregonians can access data about their drinking water system at the Public Health website.

Contact:

Tony Green, (503) 378-6002 tony.green@doj.state.or.us |
Christine Stone, Oregon Public Health Division; 971-673-1282, desk; 503-602-8027, cell; christine.l.stone@state.or.us |
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