GENERAL INFORMATION: 503-823-7404
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 600, Portland, OR 97204
Scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, 2014, the City of Portland will hold a City Utility Rate Review for the public to talk about drinking water and sewer-storm water rates.
The City Utility Rate Review is sponsored by the City Budget Office.
City Commissioner Nick Fish and management staff from both the Portland Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services will be on hand to answer questions.
The rate review will be held at Parkrose High School, 12003 NE Shaver Street, from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
The Portland Water Bureau invites our customers to attend to learn more about the bureau’s operating budget, capital improvement program and projects, and the challenges of maintaining an aging system and keeping rates affordable.
Watch for further announcements.
Members of the Water Bureau’s Operations Group have been busy conducting upgrades to the water supply system in the Bull Run watershed as well as to the huge conduits that carry water 22 miles to Powell Butte. These upgrades allow the Water Bureau to not only improve water quality protection methods, but also to ensure that the city’s water continues to meet or exceed all federal and state requirements for a public water system utilizing an unfiltered surface water source.
Conduit Vault Replacements
Water Bureau crews at the Sandy River Station are replacing old air valve vaults along the conduits. The air valves are fitted at the highest point on the conduits to continually release unwanted air during water system operation. This release protects the water system against air-related surges, and maintains system efficiency. The outdated vaults are too small to allow workers to test or replace the air valves, and do not adequately protect the air valves from contamination by flood water.
The crews’ goal is to remove and replace all the vaults that are not up to current standards. Sandy River Station staff has replaced about 14 vaults on Conduits 2 and 3 in the last year. Most of the vaults on Conduit 2 are in poor condition. The goal is to replace the remainder of them by the end of this year.
Later this spring, staff from the Water Bureau's Engineering Services Group is planning a shutdown on Conduit 2 east of SE 162nd Avenue. During that shutdown, Sandy River Station staff will replace all the isolation gates and air valves that no longer work correctly. The larger vaults will make this work possible.
Conduit 2 air valve vault, built with red bricks circa 1911, measured about 2-feet in diameter.
Sandy River Station staff installs a new air valve vault on Conduit 2.
Flow Meters Installation
Six new flow meters on the conduits at the Headworks facility in the Bull Run watershed are currently being installed. The new flow meters will replace existing meters installed in the 1920’s through 1950’s. New flow meters will be installed on each of the three conduits leaving Screenhouse #3, and on each of the three conduits leaving the Primary Intake Structure. Three new control valves will also be installed on the conduits leaving Screenhouse #3 to provide full pipe conditions for the flow meters and allow automation of flow control by the water treatment operators at Headworks.
Accurate flow measurement is a critical component in calculating the chlorine feed rate for disinfection, and the monitoring of chlorine contact time to meet regulatory requirements. The new flow meters will result in more accurate chlorine dose control and allow for automated chlorine dose control in the future when new chlorinators are installed.
Flow meters inside water conduit during installation.
The work involves installation of the six new meters, three control valves, and associated piping, electrical, and instrumentation on the water conduits at Headworks.
Thank you for taking the time to comment on the recommended concept for the visible features of the Washington Park Reservoir Improvement Project. The virtual open house is now closed. We appreciate your responses and feedback.
The Washington Park Reservoir Improvements Project will replace upper Reservoir 3 with a 15-million gallon underground tank and repurpose the existing Reservoir 4 to serve as an overflow and stormwater retention/de-chlorination facility. In addition, due to a historic landslide – dating back to the original reservoir construction in 1894 -- the Water Bureau must take steps to stabilize the hillside. The project is slated to start in spring 2016 and be completed by December 2020.
Twice a year, drinking water utilities test high-risk homes for lead levels, drawing water samples which have been ‘standing’ in the pipes for several hours. Recent drinking water samples collected by regional water providers in the Bull Run service area show an elevated presence of lead (just over 15 parts per billion in some of the homes).
The major source of lead in the tap water of Portland homes is the corrosive action of water on plumbing components that contain lead, such as faucets and lead-based solder. By far the biggest sources of lead exposure are lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust or soil, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 10 to 20 percent of a person’s potential exposure to lead may come from drinking water.
Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources, especially for pregnant women and children 6 years and younger. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys, and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body.
Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother’s bones, which may affect brain development.
There are simple ways to reduce exposure to lead in water. If water has been standing in pipes for several hours, consumers can reduce lead exposure from plumbing by running their water until it is noticeably cold. Hot water is more corrosive than cold water, so it is more likely to contain lead – that’s why it is important to use only cold water for cooking, drinking, and particularly when making baby formula or juice.
The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) has been treating Bull Run drinking water to make it less corrosive by raising the pH of the water, but in this round of tests the lead levels were over the level that triggers educational outreach (including this news release) and corrective actions.
“Ideally, all plumbing fixtures would be lead-free, but they aren’t,” said PWB Administrator David Shaff. “The next best option is to inform our customers, and provide them with the knowledge to protect themselves and their families.”
There are steps customers can take to reduce their exposure to lead in your water:
To get your water tested for lead or for more information on reducing lead exposure around your home or building and the health effects of lead, contact the LeadLine at 503-988-4000, or visit their website at www.leadline.org.
During the night and early morning hours beginning Sunday, February 23, through Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Portland Water Bureau crews must close one lane of westbound traffic on SE Powell Boulevard between SE 97th Avenue and SE 100th Avenue, to prepare a work zone for an upcoming water vault excavation project. Motorists traveling east and westbound on SE Powell Boulevard will be directed by flaggers past the work zone.
After the preparation work and scheduled to start on Wednesday, February 26, 2014, a contractor for the Portland Water Bureau will begin a four-month long project to construct a large concrete vault under the westbound lane in the 9700 block of SE Powell Boulevard, directly in front of the Central Church of the Nazarene. The 30 foot wide by 60 foot long vault will house complex piping that will connect to the city’s new 25-million gallon underground reservoir atop Kelly Butte.
This work was previously scheduled to begin in early February, but was delayed due to inclement weather.
What motorists traveling on SE Powell Boulevard need to know:
Please use caution when traveling on SE Powell Boulevard. Be sure to watch for construction workers, be ready for sudden stops, and obey all traffic controls and flaggers. To avoid traffic delays, motorists and bicyclists should use alternate routes.
Construction of the vault is scheduled for completion this summer 2014, under normal weather conditions.
The Kelly Butte Reservoir will serve Portland’s east-side water customers, and be a stopover to supply water to the Washington Park Reservoir and southwest Portland area water storage tanks.
For additional information on the Kelly Butte Reservoir project, visit http://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/kellybutte.
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