|Water System News
Protecting Our Water
Meet Hung Nguyen. As the city’s Cross Connection Specialist, he spends his time ensuring that water delivered to city customers is safe to drink.
For Hung, this has become part of his life’s work. He’s worked for the City of Tigard for 31 years, and in the water division since 2000. “I come from Vietnam and have experienced firsthand the effects of poor water quality,” he tells me. “Back home the water was not suitable for drinking—from rivers and wells—but we had no choice. “What is most meaningful about my job is protecting people from health hazards. Kids, elders, that is why I do what I do—and why I continue to bug everyone.”
Water systems depend on water pressure to keep water flowing in the intended direction through the pipes. Anything that causes a change in water pressure (like water main breaks, firefighting, etc.) can create a reverse flow, from the customer’s plumbing system back into the public water system. This is called backflow.
“Backflow protection prevents the mixing of irrigation water, for example, with our drinking water,” says Hung. “This is important because that irrigation water may have been exposed to fertilizers and other outdoor chemicals that can be harmful.” Additional cross connections where backflow devices may be installed include fire sprinkler systems, boilers used for heating, and more.
All Tigard Water Service Area customers are required to have their backflow prevention devices tested each year by June 1. Hung receives, tracks and reports on the tests from residential and commercial property owners. All told, about 6,000 residential customers and 500 commercial customers in the Tigard Water Service Area have a backflow prevention device that requires annual testing. Last year, 77% of residential customers completed the required test.
“We cannot survive without water,” Hung reminds us. “There was a time in my life when water was divided up by the teaspoonful.”
“Everyone has the same water source so we need to work together. It is not the city’s water—it’s our water.”
Committed to the protection and conservation of our natural resources
The City of Tigard is dedicated to providing its consumer with the highest quality of water which meets or exceeds the standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Oregon Health Authority.
Tigard works to ensure the quality of drinking water through monitoring, planning, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the water system. In addition, the City of Tigard provides public education, field assistance and prompt customer service.