The City of Longview and the Beacon Hill Water & Sewer District (BHWSD) currently supply customers with drinking water sourced from groundwater wells and treated at the Mint Farm Regional Water Treatment Plant. Mint Farm reliably produces drinking water that meets all regulatory standards. But when a 2014 survey found that a large majority of water customers were unsatisfied with their water, the City and BHWSD undertook a study of water quality improvement options. The study, completed between 2014 and early 2016, considered more than 50 different options to modify the water supply and improve water quality. Switching the water source from Mint Farm groundwater wells to Cowlitz River riverbed collector wells was initially identified as a preferred alternative. However, disappointing water quality testing results caused this approach to be removed from consideration in July 2016. (Find out more about the study here.)

The City and BHWSD are currently looking into treatment modifications at Mint Farm that may improve water quality and address some of the issues that have concerned customers. Later this year, staff will recommend next steps to address taste and odor complaints and propose methods to evaluate treatment options for silica removal.

Latest news

In the News: Longview committee settles on Cowlitz River Ranney wells for water fix

By Brooks Johnson, The Daily News
Posted: Friday, July 17

After months of study, Longview’s water committee Thursday night landed firmly on riverbed Ranney wells in the Cowlitz River as a solution to the city’s water woes.

There was little resistance in choosing the recommendation after eight lengthy monthly meetings and a slew of public outreach that seemed to agree that any way back to the Cowlitz as a water source would be worth a rate hike.

“I think the Ranney system’s the way to go because of the uncertainties with dealing with regulatory agencies for surface water,” committee member Rich Kirkpatrick said of the other final option considered. “I think we ought to be getting on the road on this. I think the Council should be commissioning a feasibility study right now.”

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In the News: Water committee aims for final recommendation Thursday

By Brooks Johnson, The Daily News
Posted: Thursday, July 16

Longview’s water committee is one meeting away from sending the city back to the Cowlitz River.

On Thursday, the group of 14 is set to figure out its final recommendation for improving Longview’s water system.

It is likely to recommend returning to the Cowlitz instead of trying to solve silica and taste and odor concerns at the oft-maligned Mint Farm wells.

The committee has thus far leaned toward getting the city’s water from the Cowlitz River, whether by riverbed Ranney wells or a surface intake similar to (or a rebuilding of) the Fisher’s Lane plant.

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In the News: Ranney wells missed when Longview first changed water supplies

By Brooks Johnson, The Daily News
Posted: Thursday, July 16

Among the whirs of pumps and filters at Kelso’s water plant, water is flowing with great efficiency from below the Cowlitz River to nearly 12,000 homes and businesses. The best part? “We get very few water quality complaints,” Kelso Public Works Superintendent Randy Johnson said.

The riverbed Ranney wells have served the city full-time since 1984. (They were installed in 1979 but mud flows from the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens put that on hold.)

It hasn’t been a seamless 30 years, but with a few upgrades here and there, the wells have served the city well.

So why, when Longview started looking for a new water supply a decade ago, was a similar system glossed over?

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