1120 SW 5th Ave, Suite 613, Portland, OR 97204
New signage coming to project sites: Critical work in progress, precautions in place
(April 20, 2020) – During the COVID-19 emergency that affects us all, Environmental Services is taking extra measures to protect the public and construction crews as we continue to collect and treat wastewater from every household in Portland and work to upgrade the city’s aging sewer and stormwater infrastructure.
More than one-third of Portland’s 2,500 miles of sewer pipes are over 80 years old. Environmental Services has about a dozen projects currently underway to replace or repair aging infrastructure. These construction projects reduce the possibility of sewage releases into homes, streets, rivers, and streams. You can find a list of construction projects at www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/construction.
Many of these sewer repair projects also include adding green infrastructure — such as green street planters and rain gardens. These natural solutions help collect and filter stormwater to reduce the burden on the sewer and stormwater system and protect our rivers and streams.
Crews on all sites have been directed and supported to follow CDC guidelines for protecting themselves and the public. Protocols are in place for social distancing, hygiene, and safety. City inspectors are on site to monitor work and ensure that these protocols are followed.
To further protect the public and crews, Environmental Services will post signs asking the public to maintain a healthy distance from staff who are conducting field inspections and maintaining pipes, pump stations, and other infrastructure.
While construction projects are geared to preventing sewage releases, emergency breaks do occur. City crews work 24/7 to respond to reports of sewage releases such as the broken pipe that led to sewage reaching Fanno Creek earlier this month.
What you can do
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The Bureau of Environmental Services provides city residents with programs to protect water quality and public health, including wastewater collection and treatment, sewer construction and maintenance, stormwater management, and stream and watershed restoration. Find out more about BES: www.portlandoregon.gov/bes. Find out more about the City of Portland’s COVID-19 response at www.portlandoregon.gov.