Water Commission begins extensive testing for water quality study

 Medford, Ore. — A comprehensive, 2 year study is now underway on Medford’s water. NBC5 News first told you about this study last summer. Now, scientists are hard at work at the Duff Water Treatment Plant conducting bench scale testing.

“What we really look forward to is understanding what’s going on in the chemistry of the distribution center,” new Medford Water Commission General Manager, Brad Taylor says.

The 8 week long test, is the first of a series of experiments looking at how Medford’s water quality changes from the source, to the faucet.

Dr. Benjamin Klayman is a process engineer for Black and Veatch, the consulting company spearheading the study. Their first round of tests involve placing small pieces of lead, iron, and copper pipe in water from the Rogue River and Big Butte Springs.

“Immerse those in water,” process engineer, Dr. Benjamin Klayman says, “and adjust the water chemistry and see what the resulting impact would be on the water quality as it actually comes in contact with the pipe.”

Essentially, they’re looking to see if the water tends to leach metals from the pipe it’s sitting in, and if so, how much.

“The end goal is to is to create a water that’s more stable in the distribution system,” Dr. Klayman says.

Currently, the firm is looking at two potential options: adding orthophosphate, which Dr. Klayman says coats the pipe walls, or adjusting pH. Once all testing is complete, they’ll make a recommendation.

“That information will then help us evaluate and determine the best pathway forward,” Taylor says, “of whether or not treatment is needed or treatment is not needed.”

Medford is currently in compliance with regulations concerning lead and copper levels in drinking water. This study is looking at ways to maintain or improve current quality.

The public will be invited to an open house to learn more about the study and the findings. NBC5 News will continue to update you with results as they come in.

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