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Where does my water come from?

How it comes to you

In a mountainous region like Snohomish County, the water at your tap is pressurized by the difference in altitude between source and tap, with little to no mechanical assistance needed. Since water pursues its own level inside any sealed container, any tap at a lower elevation than the source (in this case, Chaplain Reservoir with an elevation of ~649 feet) experiences water pressure. The network of piping that distributes the water we use is nothing more than a container of a very complex design. The pressure at your faucet is this container’s contents trying to reach the same level as Chaplain Reservoir.

Where it all comes from

Most of Snohomish County public water is supplied by the Sultan River Watershed and two PUD wells outside of Lake Stevens. This breakdown of how it happens is based on information published by the City of Snohomish, PUD No. 1, and the City of Everett.

The Sultan River watershed drains into Spada Reservoir, a lake in the Sultan Basin, created in 1965 when City of Everett and PUD No. 1 completed the construction of Culmback Dam.

The water in Spada Reservoir makes its way to Chaplain Reservoir, where it undergoes treatment described thus:

“This state-of-the-art plant uses advanced filtration processes to remove possible contaminants and chlorination to make sure the water is free of harmful organisms. Fluoride is also added to the water for dental health purposes and steps are taken to reduce the corrosiveness of the water because it is naturally soft.”

50 to 55 millions gallons are tested and treated daily at Chaplain, enough to service more than 75% of the residents of Snohomish County.

Treated water makes its way to Everett through 4 transmission lines, each 4’ in diameter. From here, City of Everett distributes it to its residents and passes a portion of it on to other jurisdictions in Snohomish County.

The City of Snohomish, for instance, states that they purchase 90% of their water supply from City of Everett, with the remaining 10% made up by Snohomish County PUD. PUD gets their water from two wells at a treatment facility to the northeast of Downtown Lake Stevens. The treatment for this includes the removal of iron and manganese and the addition of chlorine and fluoride.


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