Erica Digap / Mar 28

Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Bend, Oregon? 

Erica Digap / Mar 28

If you’re seeking a picture-perfect outdoor playground in Central Oregon, you don’t have to look much further than the city of Bend, Oregon. A wonderland in the winter and a green forested paradise in the summer, Bend is a wonderful place to recreate and escape to for anyone who loves exploring and being in the great outdoors. 

Because one of Bend’s biggest appeals is its many recreational activities, all of that playing means you should stay well-hydrated. So whether you’re planning an outdoor adventure or are living in this gorgeous nature-filled retreat, you might be wondering: Is tap water in Bend, Oregon safe to drink? Here’s what you need to know about the tap water quality in Bend, Oregon — and why you should always have a water filtering solution. 

Key Takeaways

What You Need To Know About Bend’s Drinking Water Quality 

The majority of Bend’s drinking water comes from the Bend Municipal Watershed, a natural surface water source that is closely monitored by both the city and the US Forest Service to ensure its quality. The water is then filtered and treated at the Outback Water Filtration Facility. In addition, some water is also pumped from groundwater sources to help meet water needs during the busier months. This water is naturally filtered as it travels through the sediment and soil. The city also treats this water with chlorine to disinfect it.  

On top of this tap water treatment, the water in Bend is also subject to regular monitoring and testing by the local water utility. The city releases annual Water Quality Reports, where the public can see that the city of Bend’s tap water regularly meets or even exceeds all water standards year after year. 

So the water in Bend comes from high-quality water sources and is generally considered safe to drink by all legal standards. However, even the best-quality tap water can have its share of potential quality concerns, so it’s always a good idea to use a water filter in Bend and beyond. 


Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are among some of the most serious health concerns in drinking water today. These chemicals can enter our water and food supplies and are thought to be linked to a variety of serious health concerns like reproductive harm, developmental delays, immune system interference, hormone changes, and even certain cancers. 

These so-called “forever chemicals” get their nickname from their extreme longevity — they break down extremely slowly, and so once they enter our water supply systems they can stay there for ages without degrading. PFAS are used in a variety of manufacturing industries, so they’re an especially big deal in areas that are populated with manufacturing industries. Unfortunately, it turns out that even natural havens like Bend can become affected.   

In May of 2023, the Bend Water Department found evidence of PFAS in one of its groundwater sources. They immediately leaped into action and are no longer using that well except in the case of an emergency. The city is also participating in a class action lawsuit against manufacturers that are believed to be responsible for PFAS contamination. 

Still, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) believes that PFAS can be harmful even at extremely low, near-zero levels. In addition, there are many different kinds of “forever chemicals,” and many of them aren’t regularly monitored for. It’s always a good idea to use a water filter to be safe. 

Disinfection Byproducts

Disinfection byproducts are another common problem in water supplies throughout the world that are treated with chlorine. Chlorine is a chemical that is used to kill bacteria and disinfect the water supply, so it’s technically a tool that makes safe drinking water possible. Unfortunately, chlorine can also interact with organic compounds that it comes into contact with along the journey from water source to tap and create new compounds like haloacetic acids (HAA5s) and total trihalomethanes (TTHMs). These compounds are called disinfection byproducts and are linked to a variety of potential health concerns including certain cancers, kidney issues, and reproductive harm. 

Technically speaking, the amount of HAA5s and TTHMs found in Bend’s drinking water are legally acceptable. However, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) believes that the current accepted levels of these contaminants are still too high and have set their own, lower levels of what they believe is safe. According to them, Bend’s tap water has tested for:


Finally, it’s worth noting the potential arsenic contamination in Bend’s tap water. Arsenic is a compound that is naturally found in the earth. Unfortunately, arsenic is also highly toxic, and the World Health Organization has linked long-term arsenic exposure to a variety of serious health issues ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. 

Because arsenic is naturally found in the earth, it can sometimes contaminate groundwater sources at levels that are potentially dangerous to human health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the water in Bend has tested for about 166 times the amount of arsenic that they consider to be safe. This concern is especially concerning for places that get their water through groundwater sources, like private wells and the small amounts of groundwater used in Bend’s total water supply.   

The Bottom Line: Bend has great tap water quality, but it’s still always a good idea to filter it before you drink it. 

All things considered, Bend’s tap water is considered to be clean and safe by all legal standards. Many locals are also proud of their drinking water and cite it as being tasty and fresh. 

Unfortunately, even the safest tap water sources around the world can be subject to contamination from man-made chemicals, naturally occurring compounds, and particulates. To make the most out of Bend’s tap water, make sure to filter it first before you drink it or use it for cooking! 

The LARQ Bottle Filtered is an excellent option for safe hydration and clean filtered water while you’re on the go, whether you’re hiking the forest or exploring the slopes. It filters out some of the most common water contaminants like heavy metals, HAA5, chlorine, PFAS, pesticides, and chemicals. Meanwhile, having a filtering water pitcher like the LARQ Pitcher PureVis keeps your water safe from these common pollutants while also purifying your tap water.