Drinking Water Source

Where does your water come from?

The City of Vancouver gets its drinking water, or potable water, from three distinctly different regional aquifers. All water supplies come from wells tapping three underground aquifers – the Orchards, Troutdale and the Sand-and-Gravel aquifers. These aquifers make up the Troutdale Aquifer System which covers most of Clark County. The groundwater system was designated a Sole Source Aquifer in 2006 due to its critical nature in providing water supplies to you and your neighbors.

An aquifer is an underground layer of unconsolidated rock or sand that is saturated with usable amounts of water. Aquifers, which store and carry water, form significant natural water supplies. Recharge areas are important to a healthy aquifer. In a recharge area, water seeps into the earth and down to the aquifer, helping recharge these vital natural resources.

100% Groundwater

The upper aquifers – the Orchards Aquifer (Upper and Lower) and the Upper Troutdale Aquifer – are the principal municipal water supply aquifers in Clark County. Where these two shallow aquifers are not present, the deeper Sand-and-Gravel Aquifer is a significant source of groundwater. The Sand-and-Gravel Aquifer also is a source of supply for several City of Vancouver and Clark Public Utilities wells, in addition to other regional municipalities and industries.

The City’s Utility tracks water consumption and levels closely at all well stations, as required by state law. In addition, the Utility keeps a close eye on yearly rainfall averages, which are important to recharging our aquifers.

The City of Vancouver is committed to ensuring our water resources are used efficiently to protect and preserve the high quality of life of current residents and generations to come.

City Water Supply Aquifer Descriptions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

Does my drinking water contain chlorine?

Yes. Vancouver’s water contains a trace amount of chlorine residual added as a precaution against potential contaminants that might somehow enter the system. To reduce chlorine taste or smell, use a filter or fill a pitcher with water and let it sit for a while. The chlorine will react with the air and evaporate from the water.

Does my drinking water contain fluoride?

Yes. Vancouver’s water is fluoridated using sodium fluoride – not fluoride by-products from other processes – to about 0.6-0.8 milligrams per liter in compliance with federal and state regulations and guidelines.

Fluoride compounds are salts that form when the element fluorine combines with minerals in soil or rocks. Most water supplies contain some naturally occurring fluoride, per the EPA. Many communities add fluoride to their drinking water to promote dental health. Fluoridation in the City of Vancouver water system dates back to a Council ordinance adopted in 1961. A citizens’ referendum in early 1962 supported that Council decision. (Note: In 2011, the Washington Supreme Court held that city council decisions on fluoridation are administrative decisions, not subject to local referendum or initiative.) Since 1961, Vancouver’s water has been fluoridated in compliance with Vancouver Municipal Code and EPA standards.

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires EPA to periodically review national primary drinking water regulations and revise them, if appropriate. The current enforceable EPA drinking water standard for fluoride is 4.0 mg/L, the maximum amount allowed in water from public water systems. EPA is reviewing that standard level, and the most current guideline from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is 0.7 milligrams per liter.

For EPA information on fluoride in drinking water, visit water.epa.gov/drink/. Information can also be found on websites for the Washington Department of Health at doh.wa.gov and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at cdc.gov/Fluoridation.