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Water supply safe

The Big Muddy, formerly known as the Skagit River, has left a distinctly unsavory taste to the city of Oak Harbor’s water supply.

But not to worry. The water is perfectly safe to drink and the taste is only temporarily, states a notice posted Friday by the city.

According to Cathy Rosen, Oak Harbor public works superintendent, many businesses and citizens in the city are noticing a “peculiar taste and/or odor in the water supply.” She explained this is due to flooding of the Skagit River, which disrupted the pH level. “Consequently, the city of Anacortes water treatment plant, as well as the city of Oak Harbor Water Division, have had to adjust the chemical treatment of water.”

“The water is completely safe to drink,” emphasized Rosen. Still, the city recognizes that many people may find it too distasteful to drink. For those folks, it might be a good idea to purchase drinking water until the local supply clears up.

Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and city of Oak Harbor employees worked Monday and Tuesday stacking sandbags and otherwise helping protect the water treatment plant, which is located in Mount Vernon and provided water to both Anacortes and Oak Harbor. That work and a river level slightly lower than projected Tuesday night allowed the plant to be spared a major flooding episode that could have shut it down.

While the plant and downtown Mount Vernon escaped a ]flood, other areas upriver were not so lucky. Skagit County officials are still tallying up the damages.

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