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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Filtration Pipeline Planning for Resilience and Reliability

Two years of extensive planning work and community outreach are informing the direction for the Bull Run Filtration Projects. The new ­filtration facility and pipelines will be key components of a resilient water system that serves clean and safe water to nearly one million people every day.

 This work includes:

  • Public opinion research to identify customer values
  • Rigorous evaluation of alternatives through technical engineering workshops
  • Geotechnical borings to obtain information about the site soil
  • Environmental and cultural studies at the site and along pipeline routes
  • Water quality testing as part of a pilot study to learn how Bull Run water responds to different treatment methods
  • Engineering analysis vetted by a Technical Advisory Committee of national experts

As the project planning phase continues, work is underway to identify potential locations for the new pipelines that will connect the filtration facility to existing water pipelines. Two new pipes will be built to bring Bull Run water to the filtration facility to be filtered and then carry filtered water to the existing system to serve customers.

Two pipes will increase system resilience/reliability and allow for future maintenance to occur without disrupting service. These new pipelines will be built to modern seismic standards to better withstand an earthquake or other emergency and will replace existing pipes in poor condition.

Careful Planning Informs Future Work

In the coming months, project team members will be reaching out to property owners in the study area and conducting fieldwork to gather important information along potential routes. To evaluate routes, the Water Bureau is looking at:

  • Community considerations
  • Maintaining gravity flow
  • Seismic stability
  • Constructability
  • Environmental impacts
  • Meeting regulatory timeline
  • Property rights

This information will be used by the pipeline designer in 2020 to select preferred pipeline routes.

In 2020, design for the filtration facility and pipelines is anticipated to begin. The planning and design team is looking at a variety of pipeline routes and construction options along easements and in the public right-of-way. Impact to the community is a top criterion as we evaluate possible options with the Site Advisory Group.