Water Commission begins comprehensive study on water quality

Medford, Ore. — A comprehensive study of  Medford’s water is getting underway. NBC5 News was first to tell you about it when it was revealed lead pipes were still in use in parts of Medford. Now, those pipes have been removed, and the city’s water commission is moving forward with a large scale study on water quality.

“Black & Veatch has come on board, they are going to do the corrosion study which will last somewhere between 18 months and 2 years,” interim MWC manager, Eric Johnson says.

The Medford Water Commission is in the beginning stages of a large-scale study from the source, to your faucet.

Interim manager Eric Johnson says it’s a project that hasn’t been done since 1981, but federal guidelines are becoming more stringent and the water commission knows its water is considered corrosive.

“That’s where if the water is aggressive it’ll leach out metals depending on what type of pipes you have,” Johnson says.

This study will look at how aggressive it really is, by conducting a series of tests on the city’s two water sources.

“The springs water and the water from the Rogue River that we make at Duff,” Johnson says, “and we actually suspend metal coupons in it- lead coupons, iron coupons, copper coupons- and then we test for what is leached into those beakers of water.”

From there, the consulting firm will recommend what action, if any, needs to be taken to reduce the corrosivity. But the commission stresses it has always met EPA guidelines, and the corrosion only takes place when water remains stagnant.

“If you get up in the morning, go into your kitchen run that water 30 seconds to 2 minutes, whatever you’re comfortable with,” Johnson says, “that first flush of water that’s been sitting there all night is gone, anything that would have leached out is gone, and the water is fine, not an issue there.”

Right now the commission is just gathering data, they plan to start testing in July.

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