The cities of Albany and Millersburg receive their drinking water from the Santiam River system through one of two water treatment plants.
The Albany-Millersburg treatment plant uses membrane technology to filter water from the Santiam River. Membranes are made up of thin layers of material that separate out dirt, sand and microorganisms from the water. This plant is designed to produce up to 12 million gallons of treated water per day. The Vine Street treatment plant uses mixed-media filter technology to treat water from the Santiam-Albany Canal supplied by the South Santiam River. Mixed-media filters are made up of different sizes of sand, anthracite coal, and garnet to attract and trap dirt, sand and microorganisms in the filter. This plant is designed to produce up to 16 million gallons of treated water per day. After filtration, the water is disinfected to inactivate any remaining microorganisms, the pH is adjusted to reduce corrosion of piping and plumbing components, and fluoride is added to help prevent dental cavities. The water is then ready to distribute to our customers. The water distribution system consists of seven reservoirs, six pumping stations and about 290 miles of pipeline that serve Albany and Millersburg.
A Source Water Assessment Report was completed by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in 2002 for the Santiam-Albany Canal serving the Vine Street water treatment plant. The report was updated in January of 2019 and now includes the Santiam River serving the Albany-Millersburg water treatment plant. The report concluded that the source water may be susceptible to contamination from sediments (turbidity), microbiological sources and nutrients. One group of contaminants that is sometimes found in surface water is pesticides or herbicides. These chemicals often run off from agricultural or residential property and make their way into the water. Albany has occasionally found very low levels of common pesticides in our raw water sampling, far below any levels that would impact human health. While the concentrations of these chemicals are very low, we would prefer not to find them at all and encourage anyone using pesticides or herbicides to follow label directions, avoid spraying along the banks of the canal or other waterways, and store chemicals away from surface water. Because Albany’s water is highly treated, drinking water quality impacts are not likely to occur from any of these potential contaminants.
The source water assessment documents are available upon request by calling 541-917-7600 or visiting cityofalbany.net/contact.