Thanks to hard work from City Clerk Treasurer Pat Persinger and Water Distribution Superintendent Russell Brown the City of Salem received $29,265.26 for the water department.
The money is from the nationwide settlement of two class action lawsuits involving atrazine, the most widely used herbicide in the United States.
“This is free money!” said Persinger. “All that was involved was some of mine and Russell’s time.”
Salem was 1 of 1,085 cities to receive a settlement. Persinger said Brown gathered information from testing done on the city’s water supply from 1994 through 2009. There was evidence of atrazine in the city’s water supply through 2006.
“We had traces, but not a real high concentration of it,” said Mayor David Bower.
When the city received a notice of a lawsuit for city’s who had the herbicide in its water supply, Persinger jumped at the chance to get the city some extra dollars. The funds are to help reimburse water systems for the expense of removing atrazine from their drinking water.
“I thought we’d get about $5,000,” she said, adding that she was speechless when she received an email stating they had received $26,000.
The money, which has already been deposited into the city’s water department fund, can be used for basic operations or to pay off grants.
“I’m really proud of Pat for her hard work,” said Bower.
He said more communities are moving toward ground water supply because it’s healthier and easier to treat opposed to lake water.
In fact, Bower said that before he leaves office, it’s a goal of his to lay claim to an area in the county where the city can eventually develop a well system.
“It’s a long-term, long-range water plan,” he said, adding that he has been working with East Washington Water Corporation to find a way to implement this plan in the future.