BOARDMAN, Ore.- According to Oregon Rural Action, the majority of well owners in the lower Umatilla Basin remain unsure if their drinking water is safe.
It is estimated that 3,300 wells domestic wells exist in the lower Umatilla Basin.
The September 30 deadline set by Governor Tina Kotek, has passed with only 1,001 domestic wells being tested.
“The OHA really let everyone down here,” said Jim Landreth, a Boardman resident with a contaminated well. “The Governor looked us in the eye and made a commitment that by the end of September, we wouldn’t have to worry about whether or not our neighbors know if their water’s safe. But here we are in October and two-thirds of us are still left guessing whether or not our tap water is making us sick.”
The domestic well testing is part of a seven-month state-led effort.
The effort aims to test for nitrate contamination. Which can pose a consistent health risk. According to ORA, nitrate can cause miscarriages and “Blue Baby Syndrome” which can be lethal to infants.
“The Governor said all the right things back in May, but clearly the folks she’s put in charge of making this right have done us wrong,” said Zaira Sanchez, Director of Community Organizing with Oregon Rural Action. “We need our state government right now, and we need the person elected to run that government to follow through on her commitment to this community. The buck’s been passed for almost 34 years now, and it has to stop with Tina Kotek.”