You might have heard in the last couple of days that the Environmental Working Group (an environmental advocacy group based in Washington, DC) reported finding relatively high levels of the chemical hexavalent chromium in Bend’s tapwater (the 10th highest on their report of 35 cities around the country tested); this is the chemical that was brought to light by Erin Brockovich as a human carcinogen.
I believe KTVZ had the story first, on Sunday, and naturally this caused some concern—Bend’s water is otherwise very clean and free of much of the industrial wastes and chemicals that may be more readily present in larger urban areas. However, the City of Bend issued a statement today indicating that the sampled water in fact did not come from the City of Bend’s water—it was in fact a sample of Avion water. (Avion is a private water utility that operates largely on the south side of Bend.)
The good news is, the majority of samples the City has tested since 1987 were not found to be contaminated with hexavalent chromium (it was not detected at all). For their part, Avion Water is determined to get to the bottom of the finding.
So, breathe easy; Bend’s water is as clean as ever.