Water Quality Report 2016

We are pleased to present to our customers our annual Water Quality Report for 2016, which documents our water supply continues to meet state and federal regulations. Both English and Spanish printer friendly versions can be downloaded at the links below. If you would like a hard copy of either version, please contact the District office, and we will be happy to mail you one. This page can be translated into multiple languages. Click on the Google Translate button, choose the language, and click Translate. If you have any questions, please contact us at 503-665-4179.


Rockwood's Cascade Reservoir and Pump Station

Rockwood’s Cascade Reservoir and Pump Station

The Board of Directors and staff of Rockwood Water People’s Utility District are happy to provide the District’s annual Water Quality Report for 2016. The report highlights the care with which District personnel manage the assets and drinking water quality. We are pleased the drinking water we provide is the best, meeting both state and federal drinking water standards and regulations.

The District’s Mission Statement is simple: To strive for total customer satisfaction by providing the safest and highest quality water at the most responsible cost; and to professionally manage Rockwood Water to assure its financial health for the ongoing protection of our customers. The Mission Statement drives everything we do making sure all of our customers are treated equitably and with utmost regard.

While the District operations are a silent service, always there, out of sight out of mind, we take seriously the responsibility and trust that has been placed in us. District personnel strive to ensure the water being delivered is of the highest quality without interruption. We monitor, sample and test for contamination; routinely flush the distribution system to provide the freshest water; protect our groundwater sources of supply; and maintain, repair and replace our infrastructure.

This due diligence happens 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Your health and wellbeing is our primary concern. We hope you take the time to access our website to review the Water Quality Report. Explore the site and learn what we are doing to protect water quality and to ensure the continuous availability and supply of affordable water.

We are proud to be of service! If you have any questions about the Water Quality Report or the District, please contact us at 503-665-4179 or email customerservice@rwpud.org.

Drinking Water Sources and Protection

The Bull Run Watershed is our primary source of drinking water. The watershed, located in a protected area of the Mt. Hood National Forest, is managed by the Portland Water Bureau. The Bull Run supply complies with all applicable state and federal regulations for source water. You can learn more by reading the 2003 Source Water Assessment (available at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/sourcewaterassessment or by calling 503-823-7525). The Assessment identifies the only contaminants of concern as naturally occurring microbes such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, fecal coliform bacteria and total coliform bacteria. These organisms are found in virtually all freshwater ecosystems and may be present in our supply at very low levels. The Portland Water Bureau is the only U.S. water system to have obtained a variance from treatment for Cryptosporidium. See below for more information.

The Columbia South Shore Well Field is owned by the Portland Water Bureau and is used to supplement or as an alternative to the Bull Run supply during routine maintenance, turbidity events, emergencies and when the bureau needs additional summer supply. Groundwater from these wells comes from three different aquifers. Portland actively protects its well field to prevent groundwater pollution. The City of Gresham is a partner in the protection of Portland’s wells. To learn more about Portland’s protection program go to www.portlandoregon.gov/water/groundwater or call 503-823-7473.

The Cascade Well Field is jointly developed by Rockwood Water People’s Utility District and the City of Gresham. The District began using water from the Cascade wells in 2004, primarily during the summer months as a supplement to Bull Run water. Groundwater from the Cascade wells is from the Sand and Gravel Aquifer. For information about water from the Cascade wells, please contact the District at 503-665-4179.

Groundwater Protection. The Cascade Well Field Protection Program is managed by the City of Gresham and supported by the District. We work with businesses and the community to keep pollutants out of groundwater. Prevention is the key. Look for opportunities to use non-hazardous products at home and at work. Green products are less likely to pollute the environment, including water for drinking, and some even cost less. If you would like more information about the Well Field Protection Program, contact the City of Gresham at 503-618-2525.

Contaminants Detected in 2016

Regulated Contaminant
Minimum Detected
Maximum Detected
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), Treatment Technique or Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL)
Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG) or Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG)
Sources of Contaminant
Untreated Source Water from Bull Run Watershed
Turbidity 0.20 NTU 0.94 NTU Cannot exceed 5 NTU more than 2 times in 12 months Not applicable Erosion of natural deposits
Fecal Coliform Bacteria Not detected 100 percent of samples had 20 or fewer bacterial colonies per 100 milliliters of water (1sample had 8 bacterial colonies per 100 milliliters) At least 90% of samples measured during the previous six months must have 20 or fewer bacterial colonies per 100 milliliters of water Not applicable Animal wastes
Giardia Not detected 2 Giardia cysts in an 11-liter sample Treatment technique required:  Disinfection to kill 99.9 percent of cysts Not applicable Animal wastes
Treated Drinking Water from Bull Run Watershed, Columbia South Shore Well, and Cascade Wells to the Distribution System
Nitrate Nitrogen less than 0.010 parts per million 0.16 parts per million 10 parts per million 10 parts per million Found in natural aquifer deposits; animal wastes
Metals and Minerals
Arsenic less than 0.50 parts per billion .84 parts per billion 10 parts per billion 0 parts per billion Found in natural deposits
Barium 0.00077 parts per million 0.016 parts per million 2 parts per million 2 parts per million Found in natural deposits
Copper less than 0.00050 parts per million 0.00205 parts per million Not applicable 1.3 parts per million Found in natural deposits
Fluoride less than 0.025 parts per million 0.18 parts per million 4 parts per million 4 parts per million Found in natural deposits
Lead less than 0.05 parts per billion 0.12parts per billion Not applicable 0 parts per billion Found in natural deposits
Treated Drinking Water from Points throughout the Distribution System of Reservoirs, Tanks, and Main Water Pipes – Rockwood
Microbiological Contaminants
Total Coliform Bacteria 1.43 percent of samples in November (1 our of 1) had detectable coliform bacteria Treatment technique required:  Less than 5 percent of samples in a month are positive 0 samples with detectable coliform bacteria Found in natural deposits
Total Trihalomethanes
Running Annual Average 28 parts per million 35 parts per million 4 parts per million 4 parts per million Chlorine is used to disinfect water
Residual at Any One Site 22 parts per million 47 parts per million Not applicable Not applicable Chlorine is used to disinfect water
Disinfection Byproducts
Haloacetic Acids
Running Annual Average at Any One Site 31 parts per billion 35 parts per billion 60 parts per billion Not applicable Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
Single Result at Any One Site .26 parts per billion .54 parts per billion Not applicable Not applicable Byproduct of drinking water disinfection
Disinfectant Residual
Total Chlorine Residual .29 parts per million 2.17 parts per million 4 parts per million 4 parts per million Chlorine and ammonia are used to disinfect water
Treated Drinking Water from Bull Run Watershed, Columbia South Shore Well, and Cascade Wells to the Distribution System
Unregulated Contaminant
Minimum Detected
Average Detected
Maximum Detected
Sources of Contaminant
Radon 340 picocuries per liter 340 picocuries per liter 340 picocuries per liter Found in natural deposits
Sodium 3.36 parts per million 6.70 parts per million 16.3 parts per million Found in natural deposits
Vanadium less than 0.00050 parts per million 0.00098 parts per million 0.00390 parts per million Found in natural deposits
See Notes on Contaminants below.


Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons, such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. Environmental Protection Agency and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by Cryptosporidium and other microbial contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791.


Action Level or AL
The concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.

Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL)
The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to the MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

Maximum Contaminant Level Goal (MCLG)
The level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for a margin of safety.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level (MRDL)
The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

Maximum Residual Disinfectant Level Goal (MRDLG)
The highest level of a disinfectant allowed in drinking water. There is convincing evidence that addition of a disinfectant is necessary for control of microbial contaminants.

Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU)
The unit of measurement of turbidity or cloudiness in water as measured by the amount of light passing through a sample.

Part Per Million (ppm)
One part per million corresponds to one penny in $10,000 or approximately one minute in two years. One part per million is equal to 1,000 parts per billion.

Part Per Billion (ppb)
One part per billion corresponds to one penny in $10,000,000 or approximately one minute in 2,000 years.

Picocuries Per Liter
Picocurie is a measurement of radioactivity. One Picocurie is one trillion times smaller than one curie.

Treatment Technique or TT
A required process intended to reduce the level of a contaminant in drinking water.

Notes on Contaminants

Arsenic, Barium, Fluoride and Vanadium – These metals are elements found in the earth’s crust. They can dissolve into water that is in contact with natural deposits. At the levels found in the District’s drinking water, they are unlikely to contribute to adverse health effects.

Disinfection Byproducts – During disinfection, certain byproducts form as a result of chemical reactions between chlorine and naturally occurring organic matter in the water. These byproducts can have negative health effects. Trihalomethanes and haloacetic acids are regulated disinfection byproducts that have been detected in the District’s water. Adding ammonia to chlorine results in a more stable disinfectant and helps to minimize the formation of disinfection byproducts.

Fecal Coliform Bacteria – The presence of fecal coliform bacteria in source water indicates water may be contaminated with animal wastes. The District uses chlorine to kill these bacteria.

Giardia – Wildlife in the watershed may be hosts to Giardia, the organism that causes giardiasis. The District uses chlorine to control these organisms.

Lead and Copper – There is no maximum contaminant level (MCL) for lead or copper at the entry point to the distribution system. The main source of lead and copper is the corrosion of building plumbing. Lead and copper are tested at customers’ tap where levels are the highest. Infants and children who drink water containing lead in excess of the action level could experience delays in their physical or mental development. Children could show slight deficits in attention span and learning abilities. Adults who drink this water over many years could develop kidney problems or high blood pressure. For more information, see Reducing Exposure to Lead on page 4.

Nitrate/Nitrogen – Nitrate, measured as nitrogen, can support microbial growth (bacteria and algae). Nitrate levels exceeding the standards can contribute to health problems. At the levels found in the District’s drinking water, nitrate is unlikely to contribute to adverse health effects.

Radon – Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that cannot be seen, tasted or smelled. Radon can be detected at very low levels in the Bull Run water supply, and at varying levels in the District’s groundwater supply. Based on the historical levels of radon in groundwater combined with the limited amount of groundwater used. Radon is unlikely to contribute to adverse health effects. For information about radon, call the EPA’s Radon Hotline (800-SOS-RADON) or www.epa.gov/radon.

Sodium – There is currently no drinking water standard for sodium. Sodium is an essential nutrient. At the levels found in drinking water, it is unlikely to contribute to adverse health effects.

Total Chlorine Residual – Total chlorine residual is a measure of free chlorine and combined chlorine and ammonia in our distribution system. Chlorine residual is a low level of chlorine remaining in water and is designed to maintain disinfection through the entire distribution system.

Total Coliform Bacteria – Coliforms are bacteria that are naturally present in the environment. They are used as an indicator that other potentially-harmful bacteria may be present. The District uses chlorine to kill these bacteria.

Turbidity – Turbidity is a measure of the water’s clarity. Increased turbidity is typically caused by large storms that suspend organic material in our source water. This can interfere with disinfection and provide an environment for microbial growth. When turbidity rises, the Portland Water Bureau can shut down the Bull Run system and serve water from the Columbia South Shore Well Field.

The Bull Run Treatment Variance

The Portland Water Bureau is the only water provider in the United States to have received a variance to the treatment requirements for the parasite Cryptosporidium. A variance is state permission not to meet an MCL or a treatment technique under certain conditions. Water systems are eligible for these types of variances when regulators find the required treatment is not necessary to protect public health because of the nature of the water system’s raw water source. Due to the high quality raw water and protected watershed, the State of Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued such a variance for the treatment of Cryptosporidium in March 2012. The treatment variance is valid for 10 years from the date it was issued. OHA may revoke the variance if the required conditions are not met. To meet the requirements of the treatment variance, Portland Water Bureau:

Protects the Watershed: Protection measures include maintaining or strengthening all existing legal and operational protections, monitoring the watershed to prevent trespassing, keeping strict controls for sanitary facilities, and regular field inspections of wildlife scat in the watershed.

Monitors the Raw Water Intake: In 2016, they conducted regular monitoring for Cryptosporidium where raw water first enters the drinking water system at least two days each week. If Cryptosporidium is detected in any one sample, then they are required to begin a much more intensive year-long monitoring program to demonstrate whether the Cryptosporidium concentration is less than 0.075 oocysts per 1,000 liters of water. The Bureau began this intensive monitoring after detecting Cryptosporidium in January 2017. Additional detections of Cryptosporidium during this period of monitoring could result in the loss of our variance.

Reports and Notifies: The Bureau reports the results of watershed and raw water monitoring to OHA. Any Cryptosporidium detections must be reported within 24 hours and all field inspections and tributary and wildlife scat monitoring is reported annually. For Cryptosporidium detections at the raw water intake, they notify the public through their website and press releases. Additional information on Portland Water Bureau’s treatment variance, including monthly intake reports and the annual Bull Run Treatment Variance Watershed Report, can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/treatmentvariance. In 2016, there were no detections of Cryptosporidium during Raw Water Intake Monitoring. In January 2017, two samples from the intake collected during observation monitoring were positive for Cryptosporidium. As a result, on January 8th, the Portland Water Bureau began increased demonstration monitoring. These results and updated information on the status of the treatment variance can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/cryptoresults.

2016 Results of Cryptosporidium Monitoring at the Raw Water Intake
Number of Samples
Total Volume
208 5,368.9 L None

Public Involvement Opportunities

Rockwood Water People’s Utility District provides a variety of public information, public involvement and community outreach opportunities. If you have questions about the District’s programs, public meetings, or capital projects, please contact the District at 503-665-4179 or visit www.rwpud.org to learn more.

What the EPA Says About Drinking Water Contaminants

Drinking water, including bottled water, may reasonably be expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants. The presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk. More information about contaminants and potential health effects can be obtained by calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 800-426-4791 or at www.epa.gov/safewater.

The sources of drinking water (both tap water and bottled water) include rivers, lakes, streams, ponds, reservoirs, springs, and wells. As water travels over the surface of the land or through the ground, it dissolves naturally occurring minerals and, in some cases, radioactive material, and can pick up substances resulting from the presence of animals or from human activity.


  • Microbial contaminants, such as viruses and bacteria, which may come from wildlife or septic systems.
  • Inorganic contaminants, such as salts and metals, which can occur naturally or result from urban storm water runoff, industrial or domestic wastewater discharges or farming.
  • Pesticides and herbicides, which may come from a variety of sources, such as farming, urban storm water runoff and home or business use.
  • Organic chemical contaminants, including synthetic and volatile organic chemicals, which are byproducts of industrial processes, and can also come from gas stations, urban storm water runoff and septic systems.
  • Radioactive contaminants, which can occur naturally.

In order to ensure tap water is safe to drink, the EPA has regulations that limit the amount of certain contaminants in water provided by public water systems and require monitoring for these contaminants. Food and Drug Administration regulations establish limits for contaminants in bottled water, which must provide the same protection for public health.

Reducing Exposure to Lead

Lead is commonly found in a variety of places throughout our environment. While lead is rarely found in our source waters and we have removed all known lead service lines from our distribution system, lead can be found in some homes. Lead can enter drinking water from the corrosion (wearing away) of household plumbing materials containing lead. These materials include lead-based solder, used to join copper pipe commonly used in homes built or plumbed between 1970 and 1985, and brass components and faucets. Lead in household plumbing can dissolve into drinking water when water sits in those pipes for several hours, such as overnight or after returning from work or school.

If present, lead at elevated levels can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking water is primarily from materials and components associated with service lines and home plumbing. The District is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components in homes or buildings. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the LeadLine, 503-988-4000, www.leadline.org or the Safe Drinking Water Hotline 800-426-4791, www.epa.gov/safewater/lead. The most common sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint, household dust, soil and plumbing materials. Lead is also found in other objects such as toys, cosmetics, and pottery.

Corrosion Control Treatment – reduces corrosion of lead in plumbing by increasing the pH of the water. This pH adjustment has reduced lead in tap water by more than half. Lead in Water Testing – provides lead in water testing to everyone, but targets testing the water in households most at-risk from lead in water. These are homes built between 1970 and 1985 with pregnant women or children ages six or younger in the home. Education, Outreach and Testing – funds agencies and organizations that provide education, outreach and testing on all sources of lead. Home Lead Hazard Reduction – supports the Portland Lead Hazard Control Program to provide grants to minimize lead paint hazards in homes.

WATER TESTING -Twice each year, the Portland Water Bureau and regional water providers, including the District, in the Bull Run service area monitor for lead and copper in tap water from a sample group of more than 100 homes. These are homes where the plumbing is known to contain lead solder, and represent a worst-case scenario for lead in water. Samples are collected after the water has been standing in the household plumbing for more than 6 hours. A Lead and Copper Rule exceedance for lead occurs when more than 10% of these homes exceed the lead action level of 15 ppb. In the most recent round of testing, more than 10% of homes, 14 of 112, exceeded the lead action level. As a result of exceeding the action level, Portland Water Bureau and the District have been informing customers and encouraging them to follow the easy steps to reduce exposure to lead in water.

Easy Steps to Reduce Possible Exposure to Lead from Household Plumbing

  • Run your water to flush the lead out. If the water has not been used for several hours, run each tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes or until it becomes colder before drinking or cooking. This flushes water which may contain lead from the pipes.
  • Use cold, fresh water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do no cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
  • Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
  • Test your child for lead. Ask your physician or call the LeadLine to find out how to have your child tested for lead. A blood lead level test is the only way to know if your child is being exposed to lead.
  • Test your water for lead. Contact the LeadLine at www.leadline.org or 503-988-4000 to find out how to get a lead-in-water test.
  • Consider using a filter. Check whether it reduces lead – not all filters do. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions to protect water quality. Contact NSF International at 800-NSF-8010 or www.nsf.org for information on performance standards for water filters.
  • Regularly clean your faucet aerator. Particles containing lead from solder or household plumbing can become trapped in your faucet aerator. Regular cleaning every few months will remove these particles and reduce your exposure to lead.
  • Consider buying low-led fixtures. As of January 2014, all pipes, fittings and fixtures are required to contain less than 0.25% lead. When buying new fixtures, consumers should seek out those with the lowest lead content.