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.
Dawn Woitt-Campbell sits on the front porch of her house in Longview, Washington. “We’re looking at a green pan that we have boiled water in twelve different times,” she said. The pot is caked with a hard, white chalky material. “We do one gallon of water, boil it down to nothing. Then we’d put another one in and boil it down to nothing,” she said. “I did it kind of as a project.”
In a way, the problems the city’s having with its water today date back to the May 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Southwest Washington. Monday marks the 35th anniversary of the eruption.