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Rigorous Testing Keeps Drinking Water Safe

May 07, 2020

Drinking Water Week logo

EWEB and the American Water Works Association are observing Drinking Water Week by recognizing the vital role tap water plays in daily life, the infrastructure that is required to treat it and then distribute it to homes and businesses, and the important "behind the scenes" work of water professionals here in Eugene and throughout Oregon and the country.

Eugene residents enjoy some of the highest quality drinking water in the world. The water comes from the pristine McKenzie River, which emerges from Clear Lake, high in the Cascade Mountains, before flowing 85 miles to the Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant, where we draw water from the river.

We are privileged to have an excellent source of water. And our customers are fortunate to have reliable access to clean, healthy and safe water when they turn on the tap. In large part, this stems from the thousands of tests EWEB conducts each year in the McKenzie River watershed, inside the filtration plant and throughout the 800 miles of distribution piping that delivers water to homes and businesses.  A summary of all the testing we do to ensure safe and healthy water is available in our just-released Water Quality Report.

That rigorous testing continues, despite the disruptions caused by the coronavirus. Each year, EWEB conducts more than 85,000 tests and checks to make sure the your drinking water meets or exceeds the highest standards.

There have been questions about the coronavirus/COVID-19 and the interface with drinking water. EWEB's existing drinking water treatment protocols inactivate waterborne pathogens, including viruses, which prevents them from contaminating drinking water. EWEB's drinking water meets or exceeds all drinking water standards, including 4-log (99.99%) inactivation of viruses as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Shortly after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic, the EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each reminded us that we should trust our tap water as we normally would for hygiene and hydration.

"This year's Drinking Water Week theme is 'There When You Need It'," said EWEB Water Operations Manager Karen Kelley. "This is aptly named given how essential tap water is in a pandemic. Handwashing is critical to stopping the spread of the virus, and it would be nearly impossible without high-quality drinking water."  

For more information on EPA and CDC guidance, including frequently asked questions, click here.