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Water Treatment Adjustments Aim to Fix Fire-Related Taste and Odor Issues

September 10, 2020

Water quality staff in the EWEB water treatment plant

We are aware of ongoing taste and odor problems in our treated drinking water.

The taste and odor problems encountered with the Holiday Farm Wildfire are due to an increase in organic material coming from the burned and eroded landscape above and around the McKenzie River. We expect an increase in organic material again once the first significant and much-needed rains come.

The Hayden Bridge Water Filtration Plant uses a powdered activated carbon (PAC) system whenever we experience significant taste and odor problems in our drinking water. The PAC system works by adsorbing (attracting like a magnet) these organic material compounds to the carbon molecules. Once adsorbed to the PAC, the compounds are filtered out. The filters are cleaned by the backwash process. 

We began using PAC on Wednesday, Sept. 9. Each day, the treatment process is reviewed and adjustments are made accordingly. This is an incremental process and it takes time for the adjustments to stabilize. 

Customers are likely to notice an improvement in the next few days. As water quality changes, more adjustments will be necessary.   

In the meantime, while the water may not be as tasty as we are used to, it still meets all state and federal health standards.  We continue to work towards improving the taste and odor while maintaining the safety of the water.

Learn more about water safety in your home or business.