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Bend, OR Water Quality Report

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Sources Of Drinking Water in Bend, Oregon

Where does Bend, Oregon get its water from? The City of Bend is fortunate to be located in the Deschutes Basin, one of the most stable and productive watersheds in North America. Our water sources include both surface water and ground water. The City’s surface water supply comes from a protected and isolated watershed, and our ground water supply is from the Deschutes regional aquifer which is deep and recharged annually by precipitation that falls in the high Cascades. Annual snowmelt and precipitation supplies the aquifer with an average recharge of 3800 cubic feet per second (cfs) annually, according to a United States Geological Survey groundwater study. 

This equals about 2.4 billion gallons per day entering the aquifer when averaged over the year. Bend’s surface water is diverted from Bridge Creek, a small stream south of Tumalo Creek about 11 miles west of Bend. It has served as Bend’s source of drinking water since 1926 and can provide 13.6 million gallons, or 41.4 acre feet, of water per day. The Bridge Creek watershed is spring-fed and consists of 3,200 acres of actual drainage area. Most of the watershed is pristine, old growth forest and is owned entirely by the United States Forest Service. To protect the water you drink, access to the watershed is restricted to a trails only access which requires a permit. No motorized vehicles, no camping, no fires, no bicycles, no domestic animals, including dogs, are allowed.  Is Bend's water safe to drink?

Source: City of Bend, Oregon

Contaminants Found in Bend's Water Supply

(Detected above health guidelines)

Chromium (hexavalent)

Chromium (hexavalent) is a carcinogen that commonly contaminates American drinking water. Chromium (hexavalent) in drinking water may be due to industrial pollution or natural occurrences in mineral deposits and groundwater. Read more about chromium (hexavalent).

Radiological contaminants

This utility detected Radium, combined (-226 & -228). Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. Drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.

Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

Trihalomethanes are cancer-causing contaminants that form during water treatment with chlorine and other disinfectants. The total trihalomethanes group includes four chemicals: chloroform, bromodichloromethane, dibromochloromethane and bromoform. 

Potential Health Effects of Consuming These Contaminants

Health risks of Chromium (hexavalent) in excess of the health guidelines

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.02 ppb for chromium (hexavalent) was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a public health goal, the level of a drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Health risks of Radiological contaminants in excess of the health guidelines

Cancer: No standard exist for this contaminant. This utility detected Combined (-226 & -228). Radiological contaminants leach into water from certain minerals and from mining. Drinking water contamination with radioactive substances increases the risk of cancer and may harm fetal development.

Health risks of Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs) in excess of the health guidelines 

Cancer: The health guideline of 0.8 ppb for trihalomethanes was defined by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment as a draft public health goal, the level of drinking water contaminant that does not pose a significant health risk. This health guideline protects against cancer.

Contaminant Levels Compared to Other Regions

Chromium (hexavalent)

 - Health Guideline: 0.02 ppb

 - National: 0.782 ppb

 - State: 0.236 ppb

 - Bend, OR: 0.477 ppb

Radiological Contaminants

 - No standard exists for this contaminant which cannot be good.

Total Trihalomethanes (TTHMs)

 - Health Guideline: 0.8 ppb

 - State: 22.9 ppb

 - National: 23.4 ppb

 - Bend, OR: 7.65 ppb

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April Jones

A hiker, blogger, and water quality expert...

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