Crypto detected 5 times in a month

The water samples had very low levels of Cryptosporidium

The Bull Run Reservoir (Portland Tribune file photo)
The Bull Run Reservoir (Portland Tribune file photo)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A potentially disease-causing microorganism has now been detected in the Bull Run Watershed 5 times in a month.

According to the Portland Water Bureau, small amounts of Cryptosporidium were detected in two separate samples of Bull Run water on Tuesday, Oct. 24. Before that, crypto — as the microorganism is commonly called — was detected in two different samples collected on Sunday, Oct. 22, and one on Wednesday, Oct. 18.

If you drink Portland water, you’re not advised to do anything differently than you normally would — but it’s still something health and water officials are keeping an eye on.

There has been some rain this month, which could be washing animal feces containing Cryptosporidium into the water system — however, water officials said detections can also occur when it’s dry out, so it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact answer.

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. (CDC website)

“An animal who might have this particular parasite can contribute that into the water at any time,” Edward Campbell with the Portland Water Bureau said.

For the general public, officials said the water remains safe to drink, but those with weakened immune systems are advised to consult their doctors.

It also doesn’t appear that more people are getting sick as a result of crypto detected in the water over the past year.

“So the detections that we saw earlier this year did not contribute to additional sickness in the community,” Campbell said. “So we would hope we’re in a similar situation now, but we will continue to work with our partners to make sure that this is the case.”

Over the summer, the city council voted to build a filtration plant, which could cost up to $500 million, to remove crypto from Bull Run Watershed. However, the project could take up to 10 years.

In the meantime, the water bureau will continue to do regular testing.

The Portland Tribune contributed to this report