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Temporary suspension of water service to Lithia fountains

Lithia water service to the historic Lithia fountain on the Ashland plaza and the fountain at the Enders shelter in Lithia Park has been temporarily suspended pending analysis of increased levels of barium found in this unique mineral water.  This water is supplied only to these two locations and is not a source of domestic potable water. 
Lithia water has for a very long time been a unique feature of Ashland that has helped shape the history of Ashland and the surrounding area.  The water contains a combination of naturally occurring elements that gives it a unique taste and texture.  The true health benefits of this water have been debated for a very long time by believers and skeptics alike.  While any health benefits have never been proven, the unique characteristic of this water and the elements it contains have been known for many years.  Though this water is not regulated in the same manner as domestic water it is still tested regularly.  Recent tests have shown increased levels of barium.  Barium levels have always been greater than is acceptable for a domestic water source, but since Lithia water is not used for domestic purposes, the increased barium has not been a cause for serious concern.  Nonetheless, the recent increase in barium levels has led the City to reexamine the acceptable limits for this one-of-a-kind water.  The service will be restored once the City determines whether it is necessary to treat the water and if so, what the appropriate form of treatment might be.  Treatment has not been mandated by the Oregon Health Authority. 
DATE:            January 29, 2016
CONTACT:    Mike Morrison, Public Works Superintendent, 541-552-2325

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