Clackamas River has very good water quality, however, analysis of temperature and bacteria data have indicated that parts of the Clackamas River do not meet state water quality standards at all times. Four stream segments are listed on the 2002 Oregon 303(d) list for temperature and eight stream segments also violate the E. coli bacteria criteria for water quality due to excessive concentrations of fecal bacteria. These bacteria are produced in the gastrointestinal tracks of warm-blooded vertebrate animals, and indicate the presence of pathogens that cause illness in humans.
The water bodies that violate the temperature standard are: the Clackamas River from its mouth to River Mill dam, Eagle Creek from its mouth to the wilderness boundary, Fish Creek and Cow Creek. Water that is consistently over 64 degrees can foster algal blooms that decrease water quality and impart an unpleasant taste and odor into drinking water. It can also be detrimental to Salmon and steelhead. For more information about DEQ ‘s Water Quality Standards or for an overview of the Clackamas Subbasin TMDL click here.
In 2002, the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) implemented Source Water-Quality Assessments (SWQAs) to characterize the quality of selected rivers and aquifers used as a source of supply to community water systems in the United States. These assessments are intended to complement drinking-water monitoring required by Federal, State, and local programs, which focus primarily on post-treatment compliance monitoring.
The long-term goal of this program is to complete SWQAs at about 30 systems that withdraw water from streams by 2012 using standard protocols and nationally consistent methods. The Clackamas River was one of the first nine community water systems sampled as a part of this program. The USGS has prepared a Fact Sheet called Organic Compounds in Clackamas River Water Used for Public Supply near Portland, Oregon, 2003-05 as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program, Source Water-Quality Assessment for the Clackamas River data. Click here for a pdf of the fact sheet.
The Clackamas River Water Providers are implementing a number of on going water quality programs which include and streamflow monitoring, and funding for maintenance and upkeep of the water quality monitoring stations. In addition the CRWP has developed a Drinking Water Protection Plan that will help guide our efforts our source water protection efforts for years to come.
Monitoring Contract with USGS
The Clackamas River Water Providers, have a Joint Funding Agreement with USGS for the operation and maintenance for three water quality monitoring stations at Carter Bridge, River Mill, and Oregon City on the Clackamas River. These monitoring stations continuously log pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature. The Carver and Oregon City sites also record streamflow and the River Mill site includes a chlorophyll probe. In addition to USGS contract the CRWP also provide funding for replacement probes and cables, and for the utility fees for the real time data signal associated with the USGS monitoring sites. The water quality data can be accessed via the web at http://or.water.usgs.gov/clackamas/monitors/.
Source Water Sampling
Since the early 2000’s the water providers have been taking monthly samples through out the Clackamas River Watershed to monitor changes in the watershed and and water quality.