The state of Washington is one of the most diverse in the United States. From large, sprawling cities to mountainous regions with almost no one around, there are many different water requirements.
Washington sources water from almost every source imaginable - lakes, rivers, streams, reservoirs, and wells pulling from underground sources. With such diversity, there are many methods of water treatment that can impact the overall quality of water reaching homes and businesses.
Most areas in the state enjoy relatively clean water with few issues of contamination. This can be attributed to the many sources and the commitment to the protection of supplies.
Common Water Problems by City
The cities in Washington certainly have unique needs from their water supply. Many different sources supply the major cities, leading to different issues from each source.
Washingtonians enjoy an overall clean water supply. The one major issue across the board is hard water, which can lead to some frustrating but treatable symptoms.
Spokane Valley - Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer
Seattle is a growing city and sources its water from multiple suppliers. The Cedar River and Tolt River watersheds both provide the city with an ample supply of drinking water.
Each river flows into its own treatment facility, allowing for greater control over water quality. Once treated, the water flows to home and businesses in and around the Seattle area.
The main issue Seattle residents report dealing with is hard water. This can lead to dry skin or dandruff. Hard water can also leave spots on dishes after building up in dishwasher supply lines.
The city of Spokane and surrounding areas draw all their water from an aquifer lying below the surface. The Spoke Valley - Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer supplies all the region needs.
The supply is relatively clean before it enters treatment, aside from a high natural mineral content. This excess of minerals cannot be removed at the water treatment facility level and leads to residents having to deal with hard water.
Hard water is generally a nuisance, causing issues with limescale and soap scum. Limescale can be an issue when it builds up in plumbing or supply lines for appliances, air conditioners, and heating units.
Water from various parts of the Green River watershed provides Tacoma, Washington its potable water. A clean supply provides residents with water featuring few contaminants.
Tacoma does experience hard water conditions, like much of the rest of the state. Hard water can mix with soap to form soap scum. Limescale buildups can lead to poorly performing appliances.
Hard water is safe to drink but can cause dry, itchy skin. Those who shower with untreated hard water may experience dandruff.
Vancouver, Washington sits about 300 miles due South of the more popular version - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
The city pulls water from three aquifers, all of which support the water table in each other. The Orchards Aquifer is primarily filled from rainwater seeping into the ground. This aquifer subsequently recharges the other two with help from the Columbia River.
Aquifers often contain water high in mineral content. This type of water, called hard water, is safe but can cause some annoying issues.
Hard water leads to limescale, which can build up over time when untreated. This can lead to poorly performing appliances or a clog in your air conditioner and heating units.
Many Vancouver residents deal with the constant task of cleaning soap scum - the residue left when soap combines with hard water.