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Studies by the U.S. Geological Survey have found 63 different pesticides and herbicides in the Clackamas River Basin. And testing shows some of those chemicals are winding up in the drinking water communities take from the river.
Water | News | Agriculture | Environment | localAug. 13, 2013 3:15 a.m.
Studies have found 63 different pesticides and herbicides in the Clackamas River Basin. Testing shows some of those chemicals wind up in the drinking water communities take from the river.
A discovery by scientists at the University of Oregon could lead to a new way to remove toxic arsenic from groundwater supplies.
Tight water supplies are nothing new to Oregonians east of the Cascades. Limited water supplies have already caused friction between growing cities and farms. Rob Manning has more on the brewing water wars in Oregon's wine belt.
An investigation has found a vast array of pharmaceuticals in the drinking water of 24 major metropolitan areas. Acetaminophen, caffeine, ibuprofen and sulfamethoxazole were found in Portland’s water.
A federal Department of Agriculture study has found low levels of pesticides in the drinking water of 11 rural schools in Oregon.
During Portland's boil water notice, it emerged that people with compromised immune systems should consult their doctors about drinking tap water.
State public health officials have barred a Portland lab from testing drinking water samples for more than 400 public water systems in Oregon.
A parasite outbreak in Baker City may accelerate efforts to treat the city's drinking water.
We'll dig into recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings with our legal expert Lisa McElroy.
The Clackamas River may not be as recognizable as the Deschutes, the Willamette, or the Columbia rivers. But it's just as important for many Oregonians. It's used for recreation, salmon passage, and drinking water. And, as the Portland metro area grows, so will the demand on the river. Nearly 400,000 Oregonians get their drinking water from the Clackamas, with several other municipalities hoping to join in.
The city of Portland has been fighting the federal government over covering its drinking water reservoirs. We've talked on past shows about how city officials had hoped to avoid the cost of the project and how some neighborhood activists had wanted to protect what they considered the scenic beauty of the structures. Now, the city has exhausted its options and has announced it is planning on covering the reservoirs. We'll talk with Mayor Charlie Hales about the city's drinking water and about his much-anticipated city bureau assignments.
A federal regulation could raise local water bills and change the way Portland gets its drinking water. The Environmental Protection Agency instituted a nationwide rule, which goes into effect in 2014, to guard against the nasty parasite, cryptosporidium. This waterborne pathogen sickened 403,000 and killed 104 in Milwaukee in 1993, but hasn't caused any trouble for U.S. cities since then. The EPA regulation requires municipalities to treat or filter local water in specific ways to remove a minimum of 99 percent of cryptosporidium. The City of Portland initially sued the federal agency over the treatment rule, arguing that Portland's water, drawn from the pristine Bull Run watershed, is pure and clean already. The city lost the suit. This week commissioners voted unanimously to continue pursuing a variance to the EPA rule while, at the same time, making plans to treat Portland's drinking water with ultraviolet light.
The last time we talked about the Portland Water Bureau, the agency was welcoming good news. The city was well on its way to receiving a variance from the Safe Drinking Water Act, a law that would have required Portland to build a treatment facility to guard against cryptosporidium. The water-borne pathogen can cause severe illness and in some cases, even death. In 1993, cryptosporidium in the public water supply sickened hundreds of thousands of people in Milwaukie. Now, trace elements of the parasite have been found in Portland water. Water Bureau officials say there is no threat from the tiny amounts of cyptosporidium found in water from the Bull Run watershed, which supplies most of the drinking water for the Metro area. City Commissioner Randy Leonard told The Oregonian the fact that cryptosporidium showed up in three water tests is an example of how the bureau is stepping up its monitoring. The Oregon Health Authority has not yet finalized its approval of Portland's variance, exempting the city from spending tens of millions of dollors to build a water treatment plant. They will come to a final decision by the end of the month. The OHA announced in late November that it would grant the variance and city officials are saying the recent discovery of cryptosporidium in the water will not derail those plans.
The University of Portland has banned the sale of bottled water on its campus. It's the first on the West Coast to do so. And international water activist Maude Barlow couldn't be happier about it. She served as the senior advisor on water to the president of the United Nations. She founded Blue Planet Project. And she chairs the board of the Washington-based Food and Water Watch. Maude Barlow believes that water is a basic human right and it wouldn't be going too far to say she has an international mission to make free, clean water available to everyone. Maude Barlow joins us to update us on international water issues, and to bring the story home to Cascade Locks, Wilsonville, and your very own water supply. How do you prefer to get your drinking water: from the bottle or the tap?
A coalition supporting fluorinated drinking water has been working on getting a fluoridation proposal before the Portland City Council. Fluoride proponents say it's a substance that's been shown to reduce tooth decay and improve health. Opponents contend that the benefits are unproven and do not outweigh side effects, and that people should have a choice as to whether they ingest fluoride. Portland is the second-largest city in the nation not to add fluoride to its water supply. 39 public water systems in the Oregon do fluoridate — including Tualatin, Beaverton and Salem. Residents of Philomath recently voted to bring fluoride back into its taps.
The Oregon Health Authority announced it will not require Portland to build a treatment facility for Bull Run, the city's water source. This comes after years of effort to convince the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state that Portland should get a variance from the Safe Drinking Water Act requirement. Once the variance is issued — likely in January after a public comment period — Portland will be the only city in the country to receive this exemption. The variance frees the city from the requirement to treat its water for the next 10 years. David Shaff, the adminstrator of the Portland Water Bureau, says that will save ratepayers $55 million. The city will be required to continue monitoring Bull Run for cryptosporidium using EPA-approved methods. It may also still have to create covers for the city's open reservoirs, including Bull Run, which would be costly for ratepayers.
The Portland Water Bureau has been front-and-center after the city auditor released a report, uncovering the spending of ratepayer dollars on projects difficult to connect to Water Bureau services. Some of these projects include improvements to a building housing the Portland Rose Festival and a Water House, designed to be a water conservation model. This comes at a time when the bureau's proposed budget for the next five years requests rate hikes of 85 percent. Two very pricey projects — the construction of a UV treatment facility to sterilize the water from microorganisms called cryptosporidium and the replacement of five open-air drinking water reservoirs at Mount Tabor and Washington Parks — would necessitate the increase, according to the proposed budget.