Cheney Free Press -


Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake's 2013 report shows water meets all drinking standards


The city of Medical Lake released their water quality report for the year 2013. According to the report, published on the city’s website, the drinking water met and exceeded all federal and state requirements for safe drinking.

The source of the city’s water is from an underground aquifer that gets water from four wells. Three wells — located northwest of the city — are shared by Medical Lake and the Department of Social and Health Service hospitals.

The fourth well is at the Craig Road and State Route 902 intersection. The city also has an intertie with the Four Lakes Water District No. 10 and wholesales water to Spokane Water District 10 from an intertie at SR 902 and Welcome Road.

Water from the wells is treated with chlorine to eliminate microbial contamination.

To ensure that tap water is safe to drink, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sets the amount of certain contaminants that can be present in water provided by public water systems while The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets the limits for contaminants in bottled water.

Medical Lake regulates residential and commercial irrigation and uses Class A reclaimed water from its wastewater treatment facility, and has an inclining water rate schedule all designed to help with water conservation.

City Administrator Doug Ross said the city uses chlorine to test the water in different locations in the city. Although he has heard of residents claiming they can smell the chlorine, Ross said it is necessary to keep the city’s water safe.

“If there’s not enough chlorine in the water, then there is bacteria that’s eating it,” Ross said.

The city collected 72 samples and DSHS collected 36 samples with no more than 5 percent of the monthly samples can be positive for total coliforms.

The city started a Water Use Efficiency Program in November 2009 with two goals to accomplish over five years: reduce the amount of water produced and purchased by 1 percent annually and reduce average annual consumption by 4 percent.

According to the report, the city purchased and produced over 258.6 million gallons of water and consumed over 234 million gallons. Ross said weather is a factor in the city’s water rates. Ross said that during the summer, the amount of water used increases.

There was also 23.9 million gallons — or 9.25 percent — of the water used that was unaccounted.

Ross said there are several causes for the unaccounted water such as a leak in a water main or the Fire Department opening a hydrant for practice. He added the city has done a better job of documenting water loss.

“We try to hunt down some of the causes of these leaks,” Ross said. “As we get better at finding some of these causes, that 9.25 percent will go down.”

Al Stover can be reached at


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