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Enhancement to Water Treatment Process - pH Adjustment
Water Quality FAQs
Water Treatment

200 S. Ivy St. - RM 177
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: 541-774-2742
Fax: 541-826-5402
Contact: Dan Perkins, Water Operations Manager
Email: dan.perkins@medfor. . .
Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Medford Water Commission

Medford Water Commission - 541.774.2430
Enhancement to Water Treatment Process - pH Adjustment

Water glasses Big Butte Springs Watershed Big Butte Springs Drinking water Water quality testing Drinking water

Our award-winning water is about to get even better!

Starting in 2024, Medford Water will be increasing the pH of the treated water from both of our sources in order to improve the longevity of our system and further enhance the water quality at customer's taps, by limiting the potential release of metals from customer plumbing and distribution system water mains, helping us to continue delivering the highest quality drinking water to your homes and businesses.

Background and Benefits

Medford Water's top priority is providing drinking water of the highest quality to our customers, and as part of our commitment to the pursuit of excellence and being the Rogue Valley's trusted municipal water provider for present and future generations, in 2019, we completed a Water Quality and Corrosion Study. While we meet and surpass all applicable federal and state drinking water standards, the study concluded that increasing the pH at both treatment facilities (using sodium hydroxide) would further enhance our award-winning water all the way to customer’s taps by limiting the potential release of copper, lead, and iron from household plumbing, and improve the longevity of our system.
Drinking water
What is pH?
pH is a measure of the concentration of hydrogen ions in the water, which indicates how acidic or basic water is. The pH of drinking water depends on the water source, treatment methods, and other factors, but generally lies within the range of 6.5-8.5.
This change will bring our water from 7.0-7.3, depending upon the source, to a target of approximately 7.8.

​Want to know what's in
the water we drink?

View our Consumer Confidence Report, which focuses on and provides details about compliance with regulations. For a comprehensive listing of testing results, see our Water Quality Analyses.
What to Know
  • Currently, the pH of water entering our drinking water system from Big Butte Springs is approximately 7.0, and 7.3 for the water entering from the Rogue River. This small pH change will begin in February 2024, using sodium hydroxide, and will eventually bring both water sources to a target of approximately 7.8.
  • The change in the pH of the water will help protect customers who have plumbing in their homes that are made of or have metal components (such as copper, lead, and iron), as well as improve the longevity of our water distribution system.
  • The taste and smell of our award-winning water will not change, and neither will the hardness. The only difference you should notice is a minor increase to the alkalinity of the water. This may result in a small increase in the amount of “scaling” on equipment/appliances—the white, naturally-occurring mineral that can be seen after water has dried. In particular, customers may notice a small amount of additional scale develop over time where hot water is in contact with fixtures and appliances, such as hot water heaters, dishwashers and showerheads. Follow the manufacturer's directions for care and maintenance of these appliances. 
  • Sodium hydroxide is used at thousands of drinking water plants in Oregon and across the nation to make pH adjustments. When dissolved in water, it breaks down into sodium (found in table salt) and hydroxide ions (found in all water). In addition to being used in water treatment, it is found in many everyday beauty products and used in food preparation.
  • No action is required for most customers, except those that utilize processes that are known to be pH dependent, such as medical facilities/equipment users, aquarium and pond owners, breweries or individuals who brew beer at home, and food processing customers.
See the following information for these groups:
Medical Facilities Symbol
Medical facilities/equipment users 
Fish/Pond symbol
Aquarium and pond owners
A minor increase in scaling on equipment may occur due to the alkalinity of the water slightly increasing as a result of the pH increase. If you have specific concerns about how the increase in pH may affect the operations and/or maintenance procedure of your business or equipment, consult the manufacturer or operator of the equipment. Customers can contact the Oregon Health Authority for more information on how changes in pH may affect medical operations.
There is no risk expected to dialysis patients, and the pH increase will not affect in-center or home dialysis treatment operations.
While the increase in pH will not change the pH from being at a safe drinking water level for humans and most pets (and within the US EPA’s range of 6.5-8.5 for secondary contaminants), more sensitive organisms such as fresh water and salt-water aquatic life are more susceptible to impacts from changes in pH. It is recommended that aquarium and pond owners regularly test the pH of the water in the fish tank and also to test and adjust the water if needed prior to adding it to the tank to ensure it remains within the safe range specific to the species/type of organisms present.
Homebrewer/Brewery Symbol
Breweries or individuals who brew
beer at home
Food Symbol
Food processing customers
An increase of pH of the water used in brewing operations can affect the process of crafting beer or spirits. Homebrewers should ask their local homebrew shop for suggestions on appropriate products to reduce pH. Breweries and distilleries typically have their own procedures for testing and adjusting water used in their operations and should continue to follow them.
Similar to brewing, some food processing methods require specific pH conditions. If your business or facility contains processes that are known to be pH dependent, it is recommended that procedures for testing and adjusting water are implemented if not already in place.

For more information on pH, our source water, and this change, please see our FAQs below. 
Estimated Schedule
Medford Water will implement the pH increase first at Big Butte Springs in February 2024, and plans to increase pH in the water from the Rogue River in the spring. 
February 2024   The project is set to kick off on February 27, 2024, beginning with our Big Butte Springs source. The change for our Rogue River source, used primarily in peak-use months, will occur when our Robert A. Duff Water Treatment Plant is commissioned for the season in the spring.
December 2023
An FAQ document has been posted (English and Espanol).

Related Documents and Links 
Fact Sheet
Project Benefits and Fact Sheet  
pH Adjustment FAQs Document
Frequently Asked Questions
Fact Sheet Espanol Project Benefits and Fact Sheet - Espanol   FAQs Espanol Frequently Asked Questions - Espanol
Medford Water Customer Service
(541) 774-2430

Medford Water
Water for the Next Century.

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