OLWS receives its drinking from the North Clackamas County Water Commission Water Treatment Plant (NCCWC). Created in 1999, the NCCWC is owned by the City of Gladstone, OLWS, and Sunrise Water Authority (Cities of Happy Valley and Damascus). The NCCWC is an independent body organized under Oregon Revised Statute 190. The Board of Commissioners for the NCCWC is composed of commissioners from each member agency appointed to represent the interests of their respective agencies.
In 2005 the original 10MGD slow sand treatment plant was upgraded to a 20 MGD plant with the addition of submerged membrane treatment, making the treatment plant essentially a duel plant, with the oldest and newest water treatment technology. Each water treatment technique can be operated independently or in tandem depending on water quality and water demand needs. The NCCWC water treatment plant provides drinking water to over 80,000 citizens for its member organization in Clackamas County.
Source Water Assessments
The 1996 Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments required all states to establish and implement a Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP). In Oregon these assessments were completed by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) between 1999 and 2003. The Source Water Assessment for the Clackamas River watershed was completed in 2003 and updated by DEQ during the spring of 2019. The purpose of these assessments was to identify surface water areas that supply public drinking water, identify sensitive areas, and potential contaminant sources that could adversely impact that source of water, and encourage the development of a voluntary Drinking Water Protection Plan.
In the 2019 updated Clackamas River Source Water Assessment combines results for all five of the Clackamas River drinking water intakes and essentially covers all of the watershed area. Almost 1,900 potential contaminant sources were identified. These potential contaminants identified were ranked by risks (low, moderate, higher) and fell into the following categories:
The purpose of these assessments is to provide information so that the public water system staff/operator, consumers, and community citizens can develop voluntary strategies to protect their source of drinking water. A copy of the updated source water assessment for the Clackamas River watershed is available on the CRWP website: www.clackamasproviders.org.
Source Water Protection
Source Water Protection is one of the first key steps in a multiple barrier approach to providing clean drinking water which involves several consecutive steps, including: high-quality source water, source water protection, optimized water treatment, distribution system maintenance, and water quality monitoring. Preventing contaminants from entering a public water system supply greatly benefits the community by minimizing the problems that can occur from contaminants in the water supply, such as increased health risks to the public, expanded drinking water monitoring requirements, additional water treatment requirements, and expensive environmental cleanup activities
The District has been working with other water providers for over 10 years to protect our drinking water source through the Clackamas River Water Providers. The Clackamas River Water Providers (CRWP) is a coalition of the municipal drinking water providers that all get their drinking water from the Clackamas River who are working together on water resource issues. The purpose of the CRWP is to coordinate efforts regarding source water protection and public outreach and education around watershed issues, drinking water, and water conservation, so that we can preserve the Clackamas River as a high-quality drinking water source and minimize future drinking water treatment costs, while being good stewards of the river.
In 2010 a Drinking Water Protection Plan was adopted by the CRWP Board. This Plan provides the CRWP with a road map of potential strategies and programs to implement over the next decade and beyond. The Plan outlines two primary goals for source water protection:
- Identify, prevent, minimize and mitigate activities that have known or potentially harmful impacts on drinking water quality so that the Clackamas River can be preserved as a high-quality drinking water source that meets human future needs and minimizes drinking water treatment costs;
- Promote public awareness and stewardship of healthy watershed ecology in collaboration with other stakeholders through public outreach and education and engagement in the watershed.
To date, these efforts have included Pesticide Reduction Programs, a Septic System Financial Assistance Program, development of a Hazardous Material Spill Prevention Program, Water Quality Monitoring, as well as Public Outreach and Education efforts. To learn more about the source water protection programs that the District is implementing through the CRWP in the Clackamas River watershed.