We don't as a rule recommend Baker City emulate Portland.
But we'd be pleased to ride the big city's coattails on the matter of cryptosporidium.
That's a microscopic parasite that can infect drinking water. Crypto
can make people sick and, rarely, kill them. The nation's worst
outbreak, in Milwaukee, Wis., in 1993, sickened 400,000 people and
killed 100 people.
The federal government, naturally, wants to keep crypto out of our water supplies.
The potential problem, for Baker City and Portland, is that the feds
seem bent on forcing cities to build expensive treatment plants even if
tests of their water show no crypto.
Which is the case in both Baker City and Portland.
Baker City officials estimate the cost at $2.5 million, and the current deadline is Oct. 1, 2014.
Portland, which puts its tab at $100 million, has asked for an exemption from the treatment rule.
We hope the Rose City succeeds, and in doing so clears the way for Baker City to get the same reasonable deal.