Baker City installs ultraviolet equipment to guard against parasite that sickened hundreds


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BAKER CITY, Oregon — New water treatment equipment is expected to go online this month in Baker City, designed to protect residents against the waterborne parasite cryptosporidium.

Last year, hundreds of people in the town of 10,000 got diarrhea from the parasite.

The Baker City Herald reports ( ) that the ultraviolet treatment system replaces temporary equipment in operation since March.

City Engineer Doug Schwin says the ultraviolet treatment doesn't kill the parasite, but rather alters its DNA so it can't reproduce.

The cause of the outbreak hasn't been pinpointed. At first suspicion fell on feces from wild elk near a mountain lake from which the city draws water. Later suspicion turned to cattle grazing near streams the city taps.

Information from: Baker City Herald,

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