fb pixel

Log In

Reset Password

Lithia water fountains will bubble again soon

Why is the water fountain in the Ashland Plaza not working? This is such a landmark.

— John F., Ashland

The fountain with the world famous rotten-egg taste, John?

It’s always fun to play a prank on unsuspecting tourists and sell them on the idea of taking a sip of that foul libation.

Some residents say the water is an “acquired taste.”

You’re right, John, the fountain has been shut down for about a month because of a mechanical issue with a pump.

The water that flows out of those fountains, once touted as a cure-all for all sorts of health conditions, is piped from a location near the Ashland airport.

Mike Morrison, Ashland Public Works superintendent, said he expects the fountains to be working again by early summer.

The fountain has been bubbling in the Plaza since 1927, and it is full of minerals, which are apparent with the first sip.

In 2007 the fountain was restored to its original appearance in a city-funded overhaul. The original fountain had suffered from vandalism and deterioration. A new granite base was created, and replicas of the original 1927 bubbler basins were crafted.

In 2016, the fountains were shut down for a while when high levels of barium were detected. Barium is naturally occurring in the water.

A sign by the fountain warns that daily consumption is discouraged due to high levels of barium.

In 1982 the fountain was given the American Water Works Association “landmark designation” through efforts by former public works director Al Alsing. The original plaque that commemorated the honor was vandalized and then lost, but a replacement was installed last year.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@rosebudmedia.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.