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Portland Water Bureau

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Protecting Our Bull Run Watershed

By Lindsay Wochnick

Semi-annual inspections of public trails  
Lead Watershed Ranger Dan and Watershed Ranger Ken (pictured) completed an inspection of the 6.5 mile southern section of the PCT and Huckleberry Trail, from Lolo Pass to Lost Lake.

To support the Bull Run Treatment Variance, the Portland Water Bureau’s watershed rangers conduct semi-annual inspections of public trails that pass near the Bull Run Watershed. 

During these inspections, watershed rangers hike anywhere from three to 11 miles, inspecting portions of both the Oneonta Creek Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).  Rangers look for signs of trespass, unauthorized side-trail construction, human and domesticated animal waste, and other suspicious activity.  Rangers also assess, post, and maintain Bull Run “No Trespassing” signage along these trails. 

In an effort to both better educate members of the public and gauge the level of public trail use, rangers also conduct brief on-trail question and answer sessions with any hikers encountered.

Inspections of the Oneonta Creek Trail and the northern section of the PCT (Indian Mountain to Lost Lake) are scheduled for later in August 2016.

Five Things to Know About the Treatment Variance 

  1. On March 14, 2012 the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) issued the Portland Water Bureau a variance from the federal drinking water rules requiring the treatment of Bull Run drinking water for Cryptosporidium. As a result of the variance the Portland Water Bureau does not treat for Cryptosporidium.
  2. The treatment variance was issued in accordance with federal and state law and is valid for 10 years.
  3. OHA issued the treatment variance based on the Water Bureau’s comprehensive LT2 Treatment Variance Request.
  4. The variance requires the Water Bureau to maintain or strengthen all existing legal and operational protections for the Bull Run, monitor the watershed on a routine basis to eliminate unauthorized entry, maintain strict controls for sanitary facilities within the watershed, and develop and implement an approved plan for conducting field inspections and environmental monitoring in the Bull Run Watershed.
  5. The variance requires the Water Bureau to conduct Observation Monitoring for Cryptosporidium at the Bull Run intake at least two days each week and each day when the turbidity is greater than 2.0 NTU.


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