By Terri Harber
The city's timeline for operating a fully functioning ultraviolet light water treatment plant is years long but at least one local retailer intends to offer smaller models for single-family dwellings.
UV treatment is considered a viable method of disabling cryptosporidium by attacking its DNA so it can't reproduce. Inactive crypto doesn't make people who consume or come in contact with it suffer the telltale flu-like symptoms, such as watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and weight loss.
Thatcher's Ace Hardware in the 2000 block of Second Street is planning to soon sell UV home-treatment systems by special order only.
Erving Logan, who manages the Baker City store, found a supplier and cost is expected to be about $300 for each system.
If the city's system isn't fully operating until the October 2016 deadline set by state regulators an at-home system might be worth it - especially for people with physical ailments that make them more vulnerable to the effects of waterborne parasites.
The home UV system would treat 12 gallons a minute.
Logan didn't have information about prices for replacement parts or costs to operate home system.
He said there also should be plenty of Pur and Culligan filtering products in stock as early as today at Thatcher's Ace. The store normally carries filters that attach to faucets or below sinks but the recent crypto outbreak has increased demand for these products.
Some of these items require installation by a plumber but others are easy to set up by simply following the manufacturer's directions, he said.
Prices for faucet and under-sink products vary. High-end models are no more than $100. Most cost much less, Logan said.
And don't forget to buy accessories needed to operate the products. Logan said Ace employees have been reading up on the topic so they can help customers decide what product might best fulfill their needs.
Other local retailers have reported that they've temporarily run out of filters. And some shoppers are buying products that don't actually provide protection against crypto and other waterborne parasites.
For example, filtered pitchers aren't designed to remove parasites. They are more for improving taste than removing the types of highly dangerous parasites.
Several local retailers emphasized that people should carefully read product labeling before purchase to ensure they buy the correct type of filter.
The box above, at left, includes recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People with weakened immune systems because of cancer, HIV/AIDS, organ transplants, use of certain immunosuppressive drugs, and those with some inherited immune diseases all need to consult their physicians before buying any water-treatment products.
And for everyone else it might be well worth it to continue boiling tap water or using bottled water a little longer while planning their purchase.
"Do some research before you buy one of these items," Logan said. "There's no reason to panic and end up with something that's not effective."
Some city officials now would like to see the UV light water treatment plant fully operating long before the current deadline of Oct. 1, 2016.
The city already treats drinking water with chlorine, which kills giardia but is not effective against crypto, which is protected by a shell called an "oocyst."
FILTER BUYING TIPS
Any of the four messages below on a package label indicate that the filter should be able to remove crypto:
andbull; Reverse osmosis (with or without NSF testing)
andbull; Absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller (with or without NSF testing)
andbull; Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 or NSF Standard 58 for cyst removal
andbull; Tested and certified by NSF Standard 53 or NSF Standard 58 for cyst reduction
Filters labeled only with these words may NOT be designed to remove crypto
andbull; Nominal pore size of 1 micron or smaller
andbull; One micron filter
andbull; Effective against Giardia
andbull; Effective against parasites
andbull; Carbon filter
andbull; Water purifier
andbull; EPA approved Caution: EPA does not approve or test filters
andbull; EPA registered Caution: EPA does not register filters based on their ability to remove Cryptosporidium
andbull; Activated carbon
andbull; Removes chlorine
andbull; Ultraviolet light
andbull; Pentiodide resins
andbull; Water softener