Water Filtration Plant History

Late 1800s
Water from the Rogue River has supplied the City of Grants Pass with its drinking water since 1888, when a company called the Grants Pass Water, Light and Power Company was formed for the purpose of supplying the city with water, gas and electricity. Between 1888 and 1889, a dam was constructed across the river a half-mile west of 6th Street to divert the water from the south bank to a powerhouse located on the north bank. This dam would frequently wash out and would have to be repeatedly rebuilt.

In 1893, a new Grants Pass Water, Light and Power Company took over the powerhouse, and between 1900 and 1901, extensive work was done to improve the dam. However, this did not prevent the dam from being washed out annually. The powerhouse was operated until July of 1907 ,when a new pump station was installed 3,000 feet upstream of 6th Street Bridge.
Water Plant Construction 1931
Early 1900s
In 1906, the Rogue River Water Company purchased the water system. At this time water was pumped directly out of the Rogue River and chlorinated to kill bacteria. Though disinfected, the water was not filtered, and at certain times of the year the drinking water was very turbid and brown in color. There was a definite need for filtration to make the water a safe, clear, and pleasant tasting commodity. As population increased, water storage also became a real need.

In 1931, the City of Grants Pass purchased the system from the Rogue River Water Company and proceeded to operate the water system under a water commission. In the same year the construction of the current water plant and Reservoir #1 was started.
1950s to Present
In the years of 1951, 1962, and 1983, the Water Filtration Plant was expanded from its initial capacity of 2.25 million gallons of treated water per day to its present capacity of 20 million gallons per day. The reservoir capacity was also increased from its original 600,000 gallons to its present 19.2 million gallons of water. This has been done to keep up with growth in the community and its need for larger quantities of safe, clean drinking water.

Water piped from the filtration plant is pumped by 14 remote booster-pumping stations and stored in 8 reservoirs located through out the city. This distributions system is made up of 5 distinct pressure zones that change as elevation increases.

Liquid chlorine is added at strategic points in the distribution system to maintain the chlorine residual that is mandated by the Department of Human Services - Drinking Water Program and federal guidelines. This residual chlorine is to ensure that bacterial growth cannot occur in the distribution system and that your water remains safe on the way to your tap.

Today, the plant uses a variety of chemical, sedimentation and filtration processes to remove particulate and naturally occurring pathogens form the water supply. Extremely high water quality is ensured through continuous monitoring both in the treatment plant and the distribution system, and by hundreds of bacterial, chemical, and radiological tests taken annually from numerous sites throughout the distribution system.