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Tap Water Remains Safe to Drink

September 09, 2020

Front name plate of Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant

There have been a few questions and concerns about water quality since the McKenzie Fire erupted Monday night. Most of the concerns revolve around a chlorine odor or even an "ashy" taste in the drinking water coming out of your tap.

We want to assure all customers that the water drawn from the lower McKenzie River and then treated at the Hayden Bridge Filtration Plant is safe to drink. Our drinking water continues to meet or exceed all state and federal health standards.

In response to the ongoing fire, EWEB has increased monitoring of raw and treated water for pollutants related to fire impacts to ensure we identify any potential issues before they become a problem.

On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 8, in preparation for fire impacts, we started filling all 28 of our water storage reservoirs. We did this for a few reasons. First, we wanted to ensure good water pressure and a steady supply in case embers from the fire started coming down in Eugene. Second, the westward march of the fire toward our filtration plant in northeast Springfield caused some safety concerns for our staff.

On Wednesday, staff started mitigating for turbidity issues (cloudiness of the water) associated with the fire. These active measures are meant to take care of the taste and odor issues some customers have noticed.

It will take a day or so for those corrective actions to work and may require ongoing adjustments based on continued fire debris flow in the river.  It may be some time before customers notice a difference given the water must travel through the 800 miles of transmission and distribution pipes that allow us to deliver water to homes and businesses.

In the meantime, please be assured that despite potential taste and odor differences, your tap water is safe.

For those who are inclined, there are some steps customers can take to flush the water in your homes and businesses which may help with water discoloration as well as taste and odor issues.

  • Turn on your outside spigot (closest to the street) at high flow for 10 minutes or until the water clears. Check to see if the issue that you experience inside is present at the spigot before and after flushing.
  • After flushing the outside spigot, run the cold-water faucets at high flow throughout the house for 5 minutes or until the water clears.
  • After flushing the inside faucets, remove and clean faucet aerators then reinstall them. Check the water from different faucets throughout the house.

Do you still have the issue? If the problem persists call EWEB Water Quality at 541-685-7861 or email

The health and safety of our customers is our top priority. We continue to monitor the situation very closely and we will continue to take all necessary steps to deliver water that meets or exceeds all state and federal health standards. Learn more about water quality and EWEB's water treatment process.