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Detroit businesses do well despite water advisories

July 11, 2018

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Summer tourism around Detroit Lake is business as usual despite several water advisories issued in the area in recent months, business owners said.

Detroit businesses reported seeing only slight drops in sales.

Many of the campgrounds and motels in the area have still been full for major holidays such as Fourth of July.

“We’re booked solid,” Detroit Lake Marina owner Scott Lunski said. “One person canceled and two people called to make reservations.”

The steady flow of visitors may be due to people being unaware of the current water advisory that has been in place since June 28, rather than people ignoring the advisories, the Statesman Journal reported Wednesday.

The area’s economy has been also been impacted in recent years by a drought, low water levels and nearby wildfires.

When the first advisories warning visitors of the toxic algae blooms at the lake and the North Santiam River were issued, businesses saw an immediate drop in sales and many customers cancelled their reservations.

Most people that come to the lake and see that the blooms aren’t so widespread end up renting a boat, Lunski said.

The toxic blue-green algae blooms were first sighted in May in locations including Blowout Arm, Heater Creek Arm and the near the dam.

The first water quality alert of the year was issued on May 23 and was lifted on June 8. A second alert issued June 13 lasted one day. Another alert was issued June 15 and lifted June 25. The most recent alert was issued June 28 and is still in place.

The Oregon Health Authority’s advisory warns against drinking water from Detroit Lake, swimming and participating in power boating or water skiing in areas where algal blooms are identified.

The algal blooms’ toxins can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and skin irritation, cause additional liver or kidney problems to people who already have liver or kidney diseases and can injure the nervous system.

Sicknesses only result from drinking large amounts of water.

For that reason, Lunski is worried that the advisory make the situation sound scarier than it is.

“If you were to call the water department and ask them how many people have gotten sick from them, it’s zero,” he said.

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Information from: Statesman Journal, http://www.statesmanjournal.com

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