The City is experiencing some taste and odor effects in our treated drinking water. Customers may notice a 'musty' or 'earthy' smell or taste to the water that comes from their faucet. Taste and odor causing compounds do not pose a health risk to the public and the City water continues to meet all state and federal drinking water quality regulations. At the current levels, these constituents may make the water less aesthetically pleasing.

The taste and odor is due to a naturally occurring phenomenon that is affecting water treatment plants throughout the Willamette valley. Because of the unusually high air temperatures this summer, the water temperature in the Willamette River is higher than normal. This combined with the low river flows is contributing to increased algae growth As the algae dies, it releases constituents that cause the musty or earthy characteristics. These aesthetic effects will dissipate as the weather cools and the river levels rise.

City staff is working to mitigate the strength of the taste and odors through changes in the treatment plant processes. This will help in addressing the issue but will not eliminate it entirely.

Again, while the taste and odor are impacted, our water remains safe to drink.

Corvallis Transportation System Plan Update:

Information on this project is available here. 


Public Works Department Director
Mary Steckel

Public Works Department Mission Statement

Consistent with the Corvallis 2020 Vision Statement and City Council goals, our mission is to support and enhance the quality of life for residents by delivering responsive and efficient services to all neighborhoods and maintaining reliable and cost-effective public works facilities and systems in a manner that emphasizes customer satisfaction, public service, and good stewardship of natural, fiscal, and staff resources.

Mary Steckel, Public Works Director, can be reached at 541-766-6916.




Services are offered out of four divisions in the Public Works Department:

Transportation– The Transportation Division covers a wide variety of service areas and a multitude of transportation modes. Any service provided on the streets or in the rights-of-way in our city is most likely provided by this Division. Street repair, street sweeping, street and directional sign maintenance, pavement marking, traffic signal maintenance, and street lighting are the most common examples. Parking services are managed by Transportation staff, including public parking lots, on-street parking, residential parking districts, permit parking lots, parking meters, and design and management of the parking system. Various modes of transportation are supported by Division staff–transit, airport, bicycle and pedestrian. Services cover the management and planning for the particular system, as well as the development of projects to enhance services. Four citizen advisory commissions are used to assist staff in developing service levels to meet the community needs.

Utilities – The Utilities Division is all about water–drinking water, wastewater, and storm water. The City has two water treatment plants and one wastewater treatment plant. Along with ensuring high quality water that meets all state and federal requirements on both ends, services are provided to maintain the treatment plant equipment, to automate control of plant processes, and to operate the remote reservoir and pump station facilities. The water quality lab conducts over 10,000 tests a year on the water at every stage in the process. Miles of piping to distribute the drinking water to homes, businesses, and schools and to collect the wastewater are maintained by Division staff. Public education programs encourage water conservation activities in the home and around the yard, and pollution prevention to the urban streams that snake through the City. Long-term planning for sufficient infrastructure to meet a growing community's needs and financial planning to ensure sufficient revenues to construct needed projects are an important component of each of the utility systems.

Engineering – The Engineering Division is responsible for designing and managing the construction projects that build the street and utility infrastructure systems. Division staff develop master plans for these systems that determine what types and how much infrastructure will be required to meet projected community needs twenty years in the future. New infrastructure is also added to the systems through the work of private contractors when building new subdivisions or commercial development. Staff reviews and approves these private development project plans, and inspects the construction once completed to ensure it was built to city standards and specifications. Inspection of work done in the public rights-of-way by private utility companies providing telephone, electrical, gas, and cable services is also a responsibility of this Division. A citizen advisory group assists staff in prioritizing needed capital projects and developing a five-year capital improvement program plan. 

Administration – The Administration Division is responsible for the general management oversight of department operations. Development of business plans and seven-year financial plans ensures the focus is on the future and on what changes in course might be required to meet evolving state and federal regulations, to maintain efficient delivery of Department services and to ensure long-term financial stability for the various systems operated by the Department. Division staff provide administrative support services to the other Public Works activity areas, which include customer service/reception, accounts receivable and payable, payroll, budgeting, recruitments, citizen information material, bid and RFP process coordination, records and property management, automation system support, and web page maintenance. Staff administers the franchise agreements with the private utility companies operating in the public rights-of-way and resolves any related citizen concerns. 

Last updated: 8/5/2015 1:55:39 PM