John Kennedy, consultant project manager, explains the process of combining aquifer water with surface water at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Salem is constructing $46 million in upgrades at the Geren Island water treatment facility to make the city's water more resilient in the event of another algal bloom.

In 2018, toxic algae called cyanotoxins impacted the city’s drinking water supply for the first time in the system’s 80-year history, sending residents into a panic buying bottled water. 

Starting in June the facility will use ozone, already used in cities like Wilsonville, Lake Oswego and Tigard, which dissolves in water and destroys bacteria and viruses.

-Saphara Harrell

A 2.5 acre filter pond at the water treatment faclity on Geren Island on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

People peer in to an under-construction cason that will tap in to the aquifer and provide a ten million gallon per day supplement to the surface water supply, at the water treatment facility on Geren Island on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Vaporizor towers stand next to a tank that will store liquid oxygen at minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit for ozone generation at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

Small pipes feed into a larger one to combine ozone with surface water with the goal of treating water affected by algal blooms or high turbidity at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The ozone generation system to combine ozone with surface water affected by algal blooms or high turbifity, at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

An employee works on the pump between the primary and secondary filtration areas at the water treatement facility on Geren Island on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A control panel of the ozone generation system to combine ozone with surface water affected by algal blooms or high turbifity, at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A filled filtration pond next to a cleaned and empty filtration pond at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

John Kennedy, consultant project manager, explains the process of adding ozone to ground water at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

A cleaned filtration pond, with cleaned and reused sand at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

People peer in to an under-construction cason that will tap in to the aquifer and provide a ten million gallon per day supplement to the surface water supply, at the water treatment facility on Geren Island on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The bottom of a cason that will allow the city to tap in to the aquifer at the water treatment facility on Geren Island on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

The ozone generation system to combine ozone with surface water affected by algal blooms or high turbidity, at the Geren Island water treatment facility on Monday, May 10, 2021. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

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