Oregon boasts a plethora of water sources that typically keep plenty of water flowing into the taps of homes and businesses across the state. Beautifully scenic lakes and rivers help supply the residents of Oregon with their drinking water.
Even states with such abundant supplies can encounter their fair share of issues. Drought is not entirely uncommon in Oregon dependent on weather patterns throughout the region.
Additionally, like many states living in the modern era, Oregon sees quite a few sources of contaminants lining the shores of various water supplies. Agricultural and industrial pollutants are far from uncommon. Older public pipeline systems can also influence water quality in certain towns and cities.
Oregonians often deal with the symptoms of hard water. Naturally occurring minerals and earth metals dissolve into water sources and create the condition of hard water. Some treatment methods can also cause hard water, which is safe to consume and use but can cause some issues around the home or business.
Common Water Problems by City
Oregon has many sources of water but most suffer common problems. However, each municipality has its own water treatment facilities and methods for removing contaminants from the supply. This variety in processing can lead to some unique issues for area residents.
Bull Run Watershed
Chlorine and Ammonia Treatment
Poor Taste or Smell
North Santiam River Watershed
Most of the water flowing to Portland homes and businesses is drawn from the various small rivers and streams that comprise the Bull Run Watershed, which is quite near the city itself.
The water pulled from this surface system is sent for treatment at multiple facilities. Chlorine and ammonia are added to disinfect the water and remove harmful bacteria per the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards.
At times, this type of treatment can be detected at the tap, as higher levels may be required to clean the water appropriately. A noticeable chlorine smell can be experienced and if particularly bad can be tasted in the water or drinks made using the water.
Hard water is also an issue in Portland causing dry skin after bathing. Soap scum occurs when limescale (a byproduct of hard water buildup) and soaps or detergents mix. This scum can be hard to remove from glass and metallic surfaces.
Salem sources its water from the North Santiam River Watershed, a system that covers a massive land area and begins high up in the Cascade Mountains. The water travels a significant distance before it arrives to treatment facilities and it picks up plenty of naturally occurring minerals along the way.
The dissolved minerals are often unphased by the treatment process and create hard water. Hard water left untreated can cause many headaches around the house including soap scum, slow running taps, and even issues with appliances if limescale is able to build-up.
Hard water is safe for consumption but the household issues can be a nuisance. Hard water is also known to dry out skin after being used for bathing and can lead to stiff laundry, as well.
The picturesque McKenzie River provides the primary source of drinking water for those living in and around Eugene, Oregon. The water is pulled from the river, treated with chlorine, and goes through a filtering process. The water then carries on to another treatment facility for testing and further treatment, as needed, before being pushed into the public supply lines.
Depending on the amount of chlorine required to satisfy federal safety guidelines, Eugene residents can experience a chemical-like taste in the water. While safe to drink the poor taste can be off-putting.
Hard water is prevalent throughout Eugene and many residents opt to treat the issue at home to avoid some of the negative symptoms of the condition. Dry skin and itchy scalp are common complaints of households dealing with hard water.