July 6, 2009
Work is getting underway on a project to restore fish habitat where Errol Creek flows into Johnson Creek in southeast Portland. The one-acre Errol Creek Confluence Project site is on City of Portland property between Harney and Umatilla street at SE 44th Avenue.
This project is one of four Supplemental Environmental Projects the Bureau of Environmental Services will complete as required by a Mutual Agreement and Order (MAO) the city signed with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality. This MAO addresses city sewage spills from 2001 to 2007. This project must be completed by the September 2010 deadline set in the MAO.
The project will remove barriers to fish passage, move the Errol Creek and Johnson Creek confluence about 50 feet south, and create a new Errol Creek channel and new wetlands for fish rearing and refuge. The new creek channel is designed as a backwater channel that will receive high flows in the winter. That will provide new wetland habitat and high flow refuge for fish, and will help moderate stream flows in Johnson Creek.
The confluence of Errol Creek and Johnson Creek is a unique natural resource. Wetlands and an extensive upstream spring system feed cool water into Errol Creek year-round. In Johnson Creek, warm water in the summer and high velocity stream flows in the winter make it difficult for juvenile salmon to survive. But Errol Creek’s abundant, cool spring water near Johnson Creek is ideal summer and winter refuge and rearing habitat for threatened fish species.
Construction begins on the project this week and will last through this October. From January to March 2010, Environmental Services will revegetate the site with native plants.
July 10, 2009
On July 9, 2009, City of Portland crews responded to sewage leaking from a manhole into Cedar Creek. Cedar Creek flows into Cedar Mill Creek, and is located in the Forest Heights neighborhood.
The release was caused by a blockage in the sewage line. The blockage was cleared at approximately 5:30 p.m. on July 9. It is estimated that the release has been ongoing at least since the morning of Tuesday July 7. City staff were alerted to the possibility of a release after reviewing sample results taken as part of the city’s routine water quality monitoring program.
Warning signs have been posted in the area, and the Forest Heights Neighborhood Association has been notified.
The city will continue to conduct water quality monitoring, and residents are asked to avoid the area until the warning signs have been removed.
July 13, 2009
Due to the most recent rainstorm, Portland’s combined sewers have overflowed. Portland's Environmental Services advises the public against any recreational activity in the Willamette River during which water could be swallowed.
The public should avoid the Willamette River for 48 hours after the rain has stopped. It is especially important to avoid recreational activities–such as water skiing, jet skiing or swimming–during which water could be swallowed. While health risks from combined sewer overflows (CSOs) are unknown, Environmental Services takes these precautions to protect the public health.
People who fish should wash their hands following contact with the water. Those who choose to eat fish caught in the Willamette River should cook them thoroughly to kill bacteria.
In many areas of Portland, sewage mixes with stormwater runoff in what is called a combined sewer system. When the combined sewer system receives too much runoff, it overflows into the Willamette River. CSOs are contaminated with bacteria from untreated sewage.
Portland is in the 18th year of a 20-year program to improve the city's sewer system. Until the program is complete, overflows of untreated sewage and stormwater will occur during rainstorms, although as the program progresses, CSO volume and the number of outfall pipes that overflow are diminishing.
July 24, 2009
The north Portland non-profit agency Golden Harvesters dedicated its new headquarters today and celebrated 20 years of providing food to low-income families, senior citizens and the disabled. The agency recently relocated to downtown St. Johns from its old location on Willamette Boulevard.
City Commissioner Dan Saltzman, Environmental Services Director Dean Marriott, Golden Harvesters Board President Jim Bull and Vice President Jan Rosel cut a ribbon to dedicate the new facilities, and joined the agency’s clients in celebrating the 20th anniversary with cake and ice cream.
Environmental Services helped Golden Harvesters find a suitable space and invested $85,000 to help the agency relocate. The new St. Johns location at 7410 N New York Avenue is larger, more accessible to clients, and has amenities the old building lacked, including a stove and dishwasher.
Environmental Services removed the agency’s old building and will construct a tunnel shaft at the site. The north portal shaft is part of the city’s Portsmouth Force Main Project. The Portsmouth Force Main will be a 66-inch, three-mile pressure sewer that will carry sewage from the Swan Island Pump Station to the existing Portsmouth Tunnel. The tunnel will carry sewage by gravity to the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant. The force main is part of the East Side Big Pipe project to control combined sewer overflows to the Willamette River.
July 27, 2009
With two years left in Portland’s 20-year program to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs), Environmental Services began construction this summer on one of its last CSO projects. Work crews are surveying, clearing brush, installing fences, locating utilities, and other pre-construction work for the Portsmouth Force Main Project.
The force main will be a three mile, 66-inch diameter pressure sewer that begins at the Swan Island Pump Station on the south end of Swan Island, and will extend north to an existing sewer tunnel at N Willamette and N Carey boulevards. The pressure sewer pipe will carry stormwater and sewage from the East Side and West Side Big Pipes to the Portsmouth Tunnel. The tunnel will carry the sewage by gravity to the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant.
The Swan Island facility can pump up to 100 million gallons a day through the Peninsular Force Main. The Portsmouth Force Main will be able to carry up to an additional 120 million gallons per day when it’s complete in 2011.
Environmental Services is constructing the project in two segments. Segment 1 contractor Mountain Cascade, Inc. will construct four microtunnel access shafts, and will use both microtunneling and open trench construction to install 10,000 feet of the pressure sewer pipe from the Swan Island Pump Station to the foot of the Willamette Bluff. Segment 2 contractor Michels Tunneling is constructing two tunnel shafts, and 6,000 feet of deep tunnel under the bluff to connect the force main to the Portsmouth Tunnel.
Environmental Services completed projects that controlled CSOs to the Columbia Slough in 2000, and completed the West Side Big Pipe in 2006 to control CSOs on the west side of the river. When all CSO projects are finished in 2011, CSO volume to the Willamette River will be reduced by 94% and combined sewers will overflow an average of four times each winter and once every three summers, instead of every time it rains.
July 28, 2009
A sewer construction project has closed both traffic lanes on NW 16th Avenue at NW Johnson Street. NW 16th is a one-way southbound street. The lane closures will be in effect all hours and all days for about five weeks.
Traffic on NW 16th will detour to NW Johnson and NW 19th. Motorists should expect delays.
July 29, 2009
Sewer construction is reducing daytime traffic on Sandy Boulevard to one lane in each direction between SE 13th and SE 15th avenues. The lane restrictions are in place during work hours, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. All four lanes are open to traffic after work hours.
The daytime lane restrictions will be in place for the next two to three weeks. Motorists should expect delays and consider using alternate routes.
For information about Environmental Services programs, contact Linc Mann at 503-823-5328.