The PGE Park sewer "surcharge"
There are a lot of interesting tidbits in the outrageously sketchy outline that the City of Portland has released of its deal with Little Lord Paulson for the PGE Park soccer renovation. But one of them that immediately jumps out illustrates how concerned the city is about the fragile 94-year-old sewer that runs under where the new soccer grandstands are supposed to go:
"...if the Tanner Creek sewer line should fail or surcharge..." It looks as though the folks at City Hall are expecting some serious trouble from that sewer line over the long life of the Paulson deal. And with good reason, no doubt. The city's own website on the Tanner Creek sewer explains:
Because of the age of the system -- some of the pipes dating back before 1900 -- a high percentage of sewers are in poor condition, there are hydraulic capacity problems and records of basement flooding. About two-thirds of the system is plagued with misaligned joints, cracks, and collapsing pipes, based on internal video inspections. Under peak flows, there is substantial surcharging due to backup from the Southwest Interceptor.What exactly is a sewer "surcharge"? They're not talking about an item on your sewer bill:
Condition problems are concentrated in southern portion of the basin west of I-405. Streets undergo surcharging with a water surface level less than 8 feet from the ground surface.
Sewer main surcharging can happen during heavy rainstorms or spring run-off; the sewer system may not always be able to handle all the extra water flow. Water and/or sewage may back up into the basement through floor drains, unsecured clean-out caps on the sewer lateral piping system in the basement, or other plumbing fixtures that are below ground level. It mainly occurs in areas where surface water and sanitary wastewater share common piping systems.Bottom line: The sewer mains down by PGE Park have had "surcharge" (backup) problems in the not-so-distant past, and they are likely to have them again in the future.
Shouldn't we fix a known trouble spot in the sewer system before we build a $30-million-plus stadium facility on top of it? I thought Portland was a world-renowned center of planning, This appears to be exactly the opposite of that.
Those of us who think this project is waste of money are tempted to hope that the sewer line breaks right away -- but justice would probably better be served if it waited until "major league" soccer opening night (if the league doesn't fold before that).
Meanwhile, the soccer hooligans are on a major campaign to scream at the City Council from now until next Wednesday about how they dare not vote against the Edicts of Paulson. Conveniently, they've posted this list of contact information for the city commissioners. Two can play that game, if you catch my drift.