Cities across Oregon are taking steps to avoid any disruption that might be caused by a chlorine supply shortage to keep drinking water sanitized and to disinfect wastewater.
Clatskanie Public Works Director Harpiar Gandhi said the city has requested the area fire departments not use potable water for their trainings.
"Water haulers had been shut down until further notice," he said. "The City of Clatskanie has approximately 170 gallons of chlorine in stock which could roughly last for about three weeks"
Gandhi said Clatskanie does not have any other options for treatment without chlorine.
The chlorine shortage is the result of a major electrical failure recently suffered at Westlake Chemical, based in Longview, Washington. Westlake supplies chlorine to water and sewer utilities in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Northern California.
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management issued an advisory about the potential last week, emphasizing that tap water throughout the state remains clean and safe despite the chlorine supply chain interruption affecting regional drinking water and wastewater treatment utilities along the West Coast.
“There are no immediate impacts, and we continue to track for potential changes or needs,” OEM Deputy Director Matt Marheine said. “The public can continue to use water for drinking, cooking and bathing, but may consider limiting outdoor use to extend the state’s current chlorine supply. We appreciate the public’s careful water usage and want to reassure there is no need to start amassing additional volumes of water.”
Rainier Public Works Director Sue Lawrence said Rainier was informed of the potential for a shortage of chlorine in the region for the drinking water system on June 17.
"Staff immediately assessed the situation," she said. "The city has a reserve of 30 to 40 days supply. The staff with the approval of the Mayor stopped all irrigation of City properties to reduce the demand for chlorine."
Lawrence said arrangements have been made to work with the supplier to maintain a minimum amount to keep the drinking water system safe.
"The city does not use chlorine at the wastewater plant," she said. "The disinfection process for the wastewater is with ultraviolet light."
Lawrence encouraged citizens to voluntarily reduce irrigation and other non-essential uses to help bridge the gap until the supply is restored.