Tribal Government & News

Tribe sends water filtration systems to Warm Springs to help with emergency

06.04.2019 Dean Rhodes Tribal relations

The Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde has sent two portable water filtration systems to the Warm Springs Tribe in central Oregon to help after a water main broke at the end of May.

On Friday, May 31, Warm Springs officials warned of a shutdown that could last as long as a week or longer due to the broken water main. Operators discovered the break the day before. The Warm Springs Tribal Council declared an emergency disaster to allow it to qualify for emergency funds.

The donated water filtration systems can filter 135 gallons an hour into drinking water, according to a Facebook post on the Grand Ronde Tribe’s official governmental page.

Tribal Emergency Operations Coordinator Steve Warden said he was contacted by Oregon Health Authority Tribal Liaison Carey Palm on Friday, May 31, to see if the Grand Ronde Tribe could lend the water filtration systems to Warm Springs. Warden said Grand Ronde has six water filtration units.

Warden delivered the systems on Monday, June 3.

“They were pretty tickled with all of the support they are getting not only from us, but the community,” Warden said. “They are getting donations of truckloads of ice and water.”

The water main break occurred under a creek, requiring Warm Springs crews to put in a temporary dam before they could attempt to repair it.

Besides the Warm Spring K-8 Academy, a slew of other Warm Springs services are affected, including the health clinic, daycare, assisted living home for seniors, the jail, museum, casino and residential homes.

The Warm Springs Tribe collects its drinking water from the lower Deschutes River, which requires intense treatment to handle the risk of contamination from sediment, algae and parasites.

Warm Springs Chief Operating Officer Alyssa Macy said the water main break was a “worst-case scenario” and urged Reservation residents to stockpile water since there is no set timeline for when water service will be restored.

Warden, who owns property in eastern Oregon, said he will pick up the water filtration units and return them to Grand Ronde once they are no longer needed.

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