Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum today issued a consumer alert following Governor Brown’s declaration of a state of emergency for contaminated drinking water in Marion and Polk Counties.

“Our state’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on food, shelter, bottled water, fuel and other items necessary for the health, safety and welfare of Oregonians,” said Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum. “We have already received consumer complaints from Oregonians who believe they have been the victim of price gouging in the last 48 hours. Anybody else who believes they have been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, should immediately file a complaint at www.oregonconsumer.gov or call the Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline at 1-877-877-9392.”

Price gouging refers to a dramatic price increase following an “abnormal disruption of the market,” as declared by the Governor as part of a state of emergency declaration. Under state law, merchants and wholesalers are prohibited from increasing their prices 15% or more above the amount charged immediately prior to a state of emergency.

Low levels of toxins caused by algae blooms in Detroit Lake have been discovered in Salem’s drinking water. Children under 6 years old and individuals with compromised health and immune systems should not drink tap water. Bottled water should be used for drinking, making infant formula, making ice and preparing food and beverages for the affected groups. It is not safe to boil tap water, or use a camping or faucet filter.

For more information, visit the DOJ Oregon Consumer website on price gouging.