If you’ve been out at Whitaker Ponds or the area of NE 47th Ave. and Columbia Boulevard, you might have noticed this big drilling rig. There’s going to be a new BES pump station here, which will pump sewage through pipes to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. For about two weeks a contractor has been drilling into the mud and rock at the edge of the Whitaker Ponds Nature Park as the first phase of construction on the project begins.
This area of Portland presents extremely difficult construction challenges. So we’re excited that this project is now underway to make sanitary sewer service available to the south airport area by 2015. Local businesses will no longer have to rely on private pumping services and can, in some cases, expand their business activities. Residents will no longer be responsible for septic systems.
Moving away from septic systems in this area is important because the groundwater is very high. Since groundwater can convey high levels of nitrates from the decomposed sewage in septic systems to the Columbia Slough, a new sewer system means less pollution will end up in the water.
The drilling rig will be finished with its work by mid-September and the next phases of excavation and pump station work will begin just as school groups return to Whitaker Ponds Natural Area park for hands-on science classes.