Annual Drinking Water Quality Report

City of Heppner

June 16th 2021 for 2020

            The City of Heppner is pleased to provide you with this year’s Annual Water Quality Report. It is our responsibility to keep you informed about the water and services we have delivered to you over the past year. It is our goal here at the City of Heppner to provide you with a safe Drinking water system and information on the Quality of the water we all drink.

Where’s my water coming from?

Your water primarily comes from 3 wells. The first well is 12 miles up Willow Creek. Your water comes from a deep basalt well which is in the Willow Creek aquifer; we call this Well #1. This well produces around 180GPM (Gallons per Minute). The next well is just 2 miles down Willow Creek from Well #1; it runs only in the summer months to keep up with high demand from the city and occasionally in the winter for testing purposes this is Well #2. Well #2 received a new turbine pump in the summer of 2018. The last well is down the creek 9 miles from Well #1. It also runs most often in the summer but is also occasionally run in the winter for testing purposes this is Well #3. The city did an extensive rehab of this well in 2011 following the floods of May 2011. The water pumped from these wells runs into Reservoir #1 and into town it also runs to Reservoir #2 then it gets pumped into Reservoir #3. Most of the distribution system inside the City was replaced in 2005 & 2006. In the summer of 2013 we also replaced the water on Elder St, Aiken St, and Barret Blvd. We do still have some old piping in service. The City of Heppner received a violation this year and we have not had a sample out of compliance.

Where do I go or who do I call for questions?

If you have any questions or concerns you can call city hall (541-676-9618). You are welcome to attend City Council meetings which are on the second Monday of the month at 7:00 pm in City Hall and the Utility Commission meetings on the third Thursday of the month at 8:00 am also at City Hall. You may also review the City of Heppner Source Water Assessment during City Hall’s normal business hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday thru Thursday, Friday 8:00 am to 12:00 pm).

What is in my water?

The City of Heppner routinely monitors for contaminants in your drinking water as required by both federal and state laws. As your water you drink travels it may pick up substances such as microbes, inorganic and organic chemicals, and radioactive substances. The only microbes the City tests for are coliform, other microbe’s cryptosporidium and shigella have not been found in our drinking water system. Radioactive elements we test for are Radium and Uranium. Radioactive decay products we test for are Alpha and Beta. (Gamma is not tested for) all drinking water including bottled water may be reasonably expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminates. Please keep in mind that the presence of these contaminants does not necessarily pose a health risk.

What else should I know?

You should also know about TOTAL COLIFORM. Coliform bacteria are usually harmless, but their presence in water can be an indication of disease-causing bacteria such as fecal coliform.  The total coliform rule requires water systems to meet a strict limit for coliform bacteria which are either present or absent. When coliform bacteria are present, special follow-up samples are done to determine if harmful bacteria are present in the water supply. If the resample is positive for coliform, the water supplier (City of Heppner) must notify the public by newspaper, television or radio. We take two samples of our drinking water to test for coliform every month. To comply with this strict regulation, we have increased the amount of chlorine in the distribution system.

What is a MCL?

The MCLs are set at very stringent levels; basically a person would have to drink two liters of water every day at the MCL level for a life time to have a one-in-a-million chance of having health effect. The table on the next page defines several terms used. 

ACTION LEVEL: the concentration of a contaminant which, if exceeded, triggers treatment or other requirements which a water system must follow.

MAXIMUM CONTAMINENT LEVEL (MCL): the “Maximum Allowed” (MCL) is the highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in drinking water. MCLs are set as close to MCLGs as feasible using the best available treatment technology.

MAXIMUM CONTAMINANT LEVEL GOAL (MCLG): the “Goal” is the level of a contaminant in drinking water below which there is no known or expected risk to health. MCLGs allow for margin of safety.     

NITRATES: As a precaution we always notify physicians and health care providers in this area if there ever is a higher than normal level of nitrates in the water supply.

LEAD: lead in drinking water is rarely the sole cause of lead poisoning, but it can add to a person’s total lead exposure. All potential sources of lead in the household should be identified and removed, replaced or reduced.

MG/L:  Milligrams per Liter is a term we use for expressing the concentration of

            a chemical or a contaminant in our water system.  This term is often referred to as

            Parts per million. That corresponds to one minute in two years or a single penny

            in $10,000.  

Parts per billion (ppb) or Micrograms per liter (ug/l) one part per billion corresponds to     one minute in 2,000 years, or a single penny in $10,000,000.

Picocuries per liter (pCi/l) Picocuries per liter is a measure of the radioactivity in water.

Non-Detects (ND) laboratory analysis indicates that contaminates are not present at the detection level.

ContaminantMCLMCLGDetection LevelYear SampledComplies (Is it ok)Potential Sources
Arsenic.01mg/l0ND2016YesRun off from fertilizer & erosion from natural deposits
Asbestos7 MFL7 MFLND2013YesDecay of asbestos cement water mains; erosion of natural deposits
Gross AlphaC0ND2014YesErosion of natural deposits
Combined Radium 226/2285pCi/l0.8 pCi/l2011YesErosion of natural deposits
Combined Uranium30 mg/l00.00042019YesErosion of natural deposits
Lead.015 mg/l .0093 mg/l2020YesCorrosion of household plumbing; erosion of natural deposits
Copper1.3 mg/l1.3.0642 mg/l2020Yes
ND=Non Detection
pCi/l= Picocuries per liter
Unregulated Contaminants
ContaminantMCLMCLGDetection LevelYear SampledComplies (Is it ok)Potential Sources
Sodiumn/an/a20.6 mg/l2013YesErosion & Natural Deposits
Fluoride4mg/l4mg/l0.331 mg/l2013Yes
Disinfection Byproducts
 MCLMCLGDetection LevelYear SampledComplies (Is it ok)Potential Sources
Total Trihalomethanes (TTHM)80ppbn/a0.00145 mg/l2018YesBy-product of drinking water chlorination
Haloacetic Acid (HAA5)60ppbn/aND2018YesBy-product of drinking water chlorination

What else do you sample for?

The City of Heppner samples for many contaminants throughout the year, not all of the contaminants we monitor are sampled for every year. The table on the next page will show what the City of Heppner monitors for.

            We constantly monitor for various constituents in the water supply to meet all regulatory requirements. This past year we were late with one of our required source samples. This does not pose a threat to the quality of our water supply.

Will people with special needs be affected?

                Some people may be more vulnerable to contaminants in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons such as persons with cancer undergoing chemotherapy, persons who have undergone organ transplants, people with HIV/AIDS or other immune system disorders, some elderly, and infants can be particularly at risk from infections. These people should seek advice about drinking water from their health care providers. EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by cryptosporidium and other microbiological contaminants are available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791).

Important Information on Lead

            If present, elevated levels of lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. Lead in drinking is primarily from materials used in plumbing. The City of Heppner is responsible for providing high quality drinking water, but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. When your water has been sitting for several hours, you can minimize the potential for lead exposure by flushing your tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using water for drinking or cooking. If you are concerned about lead in your water, you may wish to have your water tested. Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods, and steps you can take to minimize exposure is available from the Safe Drinking Water Hotline or at


            Thank you for allowing The City of Heppner to continue to provide your family with safe drinking water each year. In order for us to maintain a high level of service sometimes we need to do improvements that will benefit you the consumer. Again we at the City of Heppner are always working around the clock to provide the best quality of service to every tap. We would like to ask all of you the consumers to help protect our water sources, which is the heart of this beautiful little city, our way of life, and also our children’s future.