Frequently asked questions about water quality
Today, all of Eugene's drinking water comes from the McKenzie River. At Hayden Bridge, EWEB pumps water from the McKenzie River to the water filtration
plant. After the water is fully treated it travels through the distribution piping system to your tap.
After years of study, the viable options to diversify the community's water sources for the future include interties with other water suppliers,
groundwater wells and the Willamette River.
Chlorine is added to kill any bacteria, viruses and some protozoans that may be present. Federal law
requires a trace of chlorine in the water to ensure its purity as it travels from the filtration plant
to your tap. You can remove the chlorine by setting a pitcher of water in the refrigerator. Chlorine is a
dissolved gas and will dissipate into the air quickly.
EWEB customer-owners have had the opportunity to voice their opinion on water system fluoridation
many times during the last 60 years. The following timeline highlights significant dates
relating to the question of whether or not to fluoridate EWEB water.
- 1953: EWEB invites customers to participate in an informal
vote via post card ballots. Voters reject the use of fluoride in drinking water by a
- 1958: In November, the issue officially appears on a local
ballot and a growing majority of residents vote against fluoridation.
- 1964: The issue returns to the ballot and Eugene residents
for the first time vote to add fluoride to the water.
- 1965: In September, fluoridation opponents call for a
special election. Voters reverse course and approve a measure banning the use of fluoride
in drinking water.
- 1976: Eugene residents vote in favor of fluoridation in a November election.
- 1977: After a petition is filed to appeal the 1976 measure,
a special election is held in June. Similar to the experience 12 years earlier, Eugene
residents reverse their decision and again ban the use of fluoride in drinking water.
Fluoridation was revisited in the mid-90s but was never approved.
The hardness of water is determined by the mineral content. “Hard water” has high mineral content. “Soft water” has low mineral content. EWEB's water is considered very soft, but contains small amounts of some
minerals. Learn more about EWEB water quality test results.
To ensure that the treatment process provides the highest quality water, more that 85,000 tests and checks are done each year by EWEB technicians and
independent laboratories. Water samples are collected at several points during treatment as well as throughout Eugene in the water distribution system.
Test results show that EWEB's water quality meets or exceeds all state and federal drinking water health standards.
Discoloration in drinking water does not result from untreated water entering the distribution piping system. Following treatment, all water introduced into the system is clean and clear.
There are however, natural dissolved minerals in the water that can settle out in the piping system over time.
Fire hydrant use, water main breaks, filling swimming pools and any rapid use of the cold water can disturb the direction and rate of flow at which water travels through the piping system.
If the water disturbance is great enough the sediment lying on the bottom of the pipes may get stirred up, resulting in discolored water. Discolored water due to sediments pose no known
health threat, but for aesthetic reasons you should limit use until the water color clears up.
If your drinking water becomes discolored, avoid running hot water, using your washing machine or dishwasher until the water clears. To remove the discoloration, flush the pipes in your
house using the following procedure:
- Run the outside hose bibs at full force one at a time for a few minutes or until the water clears. If you are concerned about wasting water, water the yard from the hose bibs for
several minutes or until the water clears.
- If the water does not clear after a few minutes, wait another hour and repeat the process until the water is clear at the outside hose bibs.
- After the outside hose bibs run clear, flush the cold water faucets throughout the house. Start by flushing the cold water faucet in the bathtub.
- After the tub and hose bibs run clear, flush all of the other cold water household faucets in the house.
- After flushing remove faucet aerators to clear any particles and then reinstall them.
- If the water fails to clear, contact EWEB at (541) 341-8500 option 2.
The water delivered to your tap is better than all federal and state drinking water requirements and does
not need additional treatment. Installing a home water device is a personal decision. Before purchasing
a device, review EWEB's annual testing results to determine which detectable compounds you want to eliminate.
Email our water quality experts
with questions or for more information, or call (541) 341-8500 ext. 2.