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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

End is nigh for Portland reservoirs

Well, that was quick. No sooner had the City of Portland asked the state for an exemption from rules that apparently require covering of its open-air reservoirs, than lawyers for the state came back with a quick and dismissive "no way."

That, of course, is exactly what the Portland water bureau wants to hear, as it shovels mega-millions to construction and engineering pals for underground tanks that may create as many problems as they solve.

Ironically, the thumbs-down comes from the same state bureaucrats who keep telling us that there's absolutely, positively nothing to worry about from the fallout from Fukushima, Japan -- that no matter how bad the meltdown disaster over there gets, there's no way it could ever affect human health in Oregon. Funny how thin their skin got about the reservoirs.

Anyway, barring divine intervention, the decades-old, time-tested, open-air drinking water storage system now seems to be officially toast. The reservoirs will be disconnected, and in a few years they will probably be sold to apartment builder weasels to help pay for the Fireman's two city pensions. It's his City Council, and his budget, and he won this time, and now the ratepayers need to get over it.

Comments (23)

Perhaps I'm missing something. Fukushima has made me change my mind about covering the reservoirs. What, besides cost, is the down side?

Great....so now our water will be zapped by ultraviolet as part of this new plant, right? The same ultraviolet filtration that Portland brewers says may change the quality/taste of the water.

Let's see, how many businesses/industries can Portland run off? Real smart, guys.

So...anyone want to take any bets that the Mad Pisser was a deliberate plant to encourage this decision?

I don't think the two are connected. The state went off on legal grounds. But Pee Man was great for p.r.

As for fallout, the water's going to pick it up at Bull Run regardless of where it's stored once it gets down to Portland.

Bee...no one ever died from open reservoir microorganisms or chemicals. The same cannot be said for closed storage tanks. The decision to cover the reservoirs was an arbitrary decision made by EPA after the Portland Independent Review Panel said that added security was all that was needed to keep them safe. Leonard and Shaff failed miserably at that task. Shaff's engineer buddy with the reservoir covering contracts did not like the Panel's outcome so here we are today. The same guy who designed defective Seattle covered reservoirs. Still no scientific evidence to show they need to be covered. Knowingly being subjected to radioactive materials originating from the Columbia well field is a little hard to get over, after the defective process Shaff and Leonard led us through.

Kent - You realize UV rays hit the ocean, rivers and lakes daily.

Benjamin... the effects of sunlight UV are different than engineered UV in a closed system. Look it up.

Victory for MWH!!!


How did people ever survive in an unprotected enviroment without someone like Randy to watch over them?

KGW's coverage of this story was full blown sycophantic. The reporter trumpeted the Firelad's great fight to stop this. I guess that's another news outlet that needs to be out of my life.

Not so fast. This was the response from the State that was expected when no effort was made but a letter Randy was forced to write. But the letter is just an opinion. Regulations whether state or federal do not trump the Safe Drinking Water Act and opinions contrary to sound science and facts are not the final word.

The fight is far from over.

Yes the Water Bureau remains committed to more wasteful spending and the Bureau's fast-track burial schedule was designed to support this.

Many options remain and all of them will be pursued. The coalition that opposes the absurd requirement is large and is not going away. Why would the community support wasting more money "treating" the open reservoirs for contaminants that do exist? We certainly aren't going to support the most expensive way to treat the reservoirs, burying them as treatment for contaminants that do not exist.

I suppose the reservoirs can't be turned into park lakes for paddling around and stuff?

They couldn't possibly be stocked with trout and the shorelines made people friendly?

Let me guess, there's no money for that?

Why doesn't someone run for mayor who would actually oppose all of the status quo shenanigans and advocate some common sense.

There are many downsides, i.e new and unique public health risks associated only with covered storage- cancer-causing nitrification that can only occur in the absence of sunlight in chloraminated systems such as Portland's.
After covering some of their reservoirs, LA has had problems with nitrification and has been experimenting with UV radiation bulbs in their covered tanks to deal with nitrification. Thus they have added the risk of mercury contamination on top of nitrification problems.

In Portland there is also the problem with Radon at the Columbia South Shore WellField Portland's lower quality secondary source. Without the open reservoirs more Radon will vent in homes when you shower, wash person, dishes,etc. when the Bureau uses the CSSWF

Generally there is the loss of benefits of sunshine- natural UV, venting of disinfection byproducts.
As NYC said in their March 2011 regulatory comments against this requirement, covering storage lowers water quality and makes cleaning the reservoirs more difficult.

Peegate or weegate is related in that Shaff follows a script written long ago by Joe Glicker on how to manipulate the media and the public. Glicker wrote in a industry paper that the media does not understand science so it up to the Bureau to determine what people should think, thus Shaff,a Glicker associate says he didn't consider science but wanted people to think, yuck.

Glicker is the consultant who was hired to negotiate the EPA regulation under PWB contract and is the consultant who is benefiting from the rule with his Powell Butte II tank design contract and his UV Radiation design contact.

It's their theme-park and they'll d*mn well do what they please with it. People will pay top-dollar just to have a Portland mailing address, not to mention just being granted the privilege of experiencing first-hand it's wonderfulness. Ingrate residents are supposed to either shut up or get out the way of other paying customers.

Like I have mentioned before, whoever is behind this has no conscience, to destroy a good system, to subject our community to financial ruin over this and to subject our community to seriously degraded drinking water.

...Many options remain and all of them will be pursued. The coalition that opposes the absurd requirement is large and is not going away...

How many times does a variance have to be rejected? Go for a waiver.

I am just wondering why the kid that did the pee deed....isn't being charged for the expense of draining the water and refilling the reservoir?

I think that that no one at kiddie hall has a conscience. It is removed upon election to office if it still exists, at the same time the mandatory lobotomy is performed the day after the election.

...and now the ratepayers need to get over it.

The ratepayers may get over it, but I don't think so. The tiger is by the tail here, the TRUTH of the matter. Some way or another, the deception of this whole matter is coming out and will continue to come out.

Why should it end - because "someone behind the scenes" wants this so badly to have set this up and got the elected officials to turn their backs on us?

Do they think the businesses and citizens are going to lay down and be silent now like the elected officials? Anyone who does not stand up for our water should not be elected.

Why should we lose the best asset this community has to corporations coming in and taking over and leaving us with toxic chemicals to swallow and radon coming up into our homes???

Pure insanity and it has to stop.

....oh let us not forget the billion dollars with debt for this deception.

Randy says the water was dumped to keeps us all from contracting AIDS. But then he had to apologize. Well, sort of.

How long until our formerly pristine water system is sold to some corporatation? As a way to keep the City from going bankrupt?

That may just be their plan. . why else are they doing unnecessary projects and adding more and more debt? Why else haven't they asked for a delay? What kind of a letter did Randy write that the state so hurriedly returned an answer PWB most likely wanted?

We may already be in so much debt, that some have decided to use this EPA rule to get us out from under that debt. Could be cover the reservoirs as we "have" to might be their way of thinking they can at the same time cover all their other debt as well. Then they can parrot that now we "have" to sell our system, as just too much debt.

Who wants our water so badly that our elected officials are laying down on this?

I imagine they think the businesses and citizens being up to their neck with rates 85% in 5 years will be forced or more than willing to "have" to sell our treasure.

There is absolutely no trust here with the financial misfits.

Thanks for the informative responses to my question!


My Response was taking some action:

Learn about Portland's Water Politics

State Denies Variance ~ Solution is a Waiver

20 minutes a day for 3 days

Meditate ~ Research ~ Write ~ Speak Out

write to Senator Merkley about a WAIVER from EPA's LT2 Rule


Community stakeholders have a long history of supporting an EPA LT2 Waiver. There are naysayers in the community incorrectly saying a waiver is not an option. The Portland Water Bureau incorrectly says there is no such thing as a waiver. We are currently under an EPA waiver releasing us from filtration of our Bull Run drinking water, called a Filtration Avoidance Determination. Because LT2 is extremely scientifically flawed, a Waiver is the simple, enduring, and cost effective solution.

Legal definition of a Waiver- permission to be exempted from a rule or requirement in our case; waiver- a formal written statement by Congress/EPA releasing Portland from LT2 regulation.

Extension- (N.Y. has one for 26 years) EPA can grant additional time to meet a regulation such as LT2. Usually given for costs or construction reasons, but is also discretionary depending on EPA.

Variance- State or EPA permission not to meet a certain drinking water standard. The water system must prove that: (1) it cannot meet a MCL, even while using the best available treatment method, because of the characteristics of the raw water, and (2) the variance will not create an unreasonable risk to public health.

The State or EPA must review, and allow public comment on, a Variance every three years. States can also grant Variances to water systems that serve small populations and which prove that they are unable to afford the required treatment, an alternative water source, or otherwise comply with the standard.


The variance is temporary, being reviewed every 3 years allowing rates to move up accordingly.



The Congress/EPA LT2 Waiver is the permanent, cost effective SOLUTION to providing relief in the community for a public health problem that does not exist. For honest full disclosure of community options, we need to include the Congress/EPA LT2 Waiver in all discussions.



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