How Our Water Systems Work


There are many dedicated professionals behind the scenes that insure the delivery of safe clean drinking water to our homes, businesses and schools 24/7, 365 days a year. Rarely do these professionals talk about what their individual roles are and how their role plays a in the process of delivering public drinking water.    

The following pages are meant to help the public understand all of the different process, federal and state requirements, programs, processes and water industry standards that are followed to insure clean safe drinking water is delivered to customers from the forest to the tap in seemingly never ending quantities.

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• We meet some of the world’s most stringent water quality standards.
• From foods and beverages to toothpastes and perfumes, water is the
primary ingredient in hundreds of thousands of everyday products.
• In Clackamas County water remains relatively inexpensive, delivered to
you at under a penny per gallon.
• Most of the nearly 300,000 people that get their drinking water from
the Clackamas River do not live in the watershed.
• It is not possible to tell if water is safe to drink by visual examination.
• Without water treatment, preventable waterborne disease such as cholera and dysentery
would be part of everyday life.
• Tap water undergoes far more frequent testing than bottle water.
• The standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act are some of the most stringent in the world.
• A typical water tower can hold 50 times the amount of water as found in a normal in-ground swimming pool in someone’s backyard (around 25,000 gallons x 50).
• It is a federal offence to tamper with a public water tank, tower, or reservoir.
• During a fire, a raised water reservoir guarantees that there will be enough pressure to keep water flowing through the fire hydrants.
• In the US, there are almost one million miles of distribution systems representing the vast majority of physical infrastructure needed to get safe water from the source to consumer’s tap.
• Most of our water distribution systems are old and are in need of repair and replacement.
• Whether inside or outside your home, a leak can waste hundreds of gallons of water per year.
• Some leaks are easy to see or hear. Others are small. However, big or small, any leak costs
you money and should be repaired as soon as possible.
• In Clackamas County dry barrel fire hydrants are used which makes it nearly impossible for a car to run over a fire hydrant and cause it to gush water like they do in the movies.