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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on January 6, 2012 8:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was Portland parking meters: complete and utter chaos. The next post in this blog is Should Sherri have gone to the mattresses with Olympia?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, January 6, 2012

Oh, no! Crypto!

Portlanders who use water got some bad news yesterday: The city managed to find a small amount of cryptosporidium in the water at the Bull Run reservoir last week. Despite the spin that the water bureau is putting on the discovery, this could push Portland a giant step closer to having to build a $100 million (liars' budget) ultraviolet treatment plant at the reservoir.

Preliminary lab results from Dec. 30 found one oocyst -- a hard-shelled structure detectable by microscope -- at Bull Run's raw water intake. Another oocyst was found upstream. But testing from Jan. 1 and Jan. 3 didn't detect any cryptosporidium, the city reported.

According to City Hall, those two little bugs are still far below any health concern, and city officials say they still plan to pursue a "variance" from the state that would eliminate the need for the spendy new treatment plant. They say they "hope" that the state, which recently indicated it would grant the variance, will still do so. And the state, they say, "should" go along.

Do you trust the city water bureau on this? Their behavior in connection with the crypto issue has not exactly inspired confidence. They've been in bed with the ultraviolet treatment industry for decades. The treatment system that Portland was supposed to buy has already been picked out, and at last report, it was awaiting testing at the private Carollo lab that the city quietly allowed to be built out at the Columbia well fields. And over the holidays, the city was still seeking land use changes from Clackamas County that would clear the way for the UV treatment plant to be built.

Actions speak louder than words, and from that vantage point, we'd bet there are people in the water bureau -- perhaps even high up in that bureau -- who are secretly delighted that crypto has turned up. They may be able to make good on another backroom deal, after all.

This particular microbe has not been detected in Portland water since 2002, and testing for it over the past three or four years has apparently been intense. Remarkably, only when the grand plans for the nine-figure construction project were in jeopardy did it finally show up. Anyway, despite the official party line -- faithfully repeated by the O, of course -- there's more than a whiff of trouble in the air.

Comments (18)

Oh no! Millions we'll have to blow...
Look out for Crypto!

Sung to the tune of Godzilla, by BOC.

Take it away, Bill McD....

One of the essential questions is how did that "contamination" actually occur before its "detection"? For decades, the Water Bureau has been run -- from within & without -- by (fill-in-the-blank). Now we have, in addition, another brand of (fill-in-the-blank): Cryptomaniacs.

With the gazillions of gallons of water consumed daily, does anybody really believe they can test every gallon so effectively as to detect every oocyst?

I would proffer that if you're testing regimen detects one or two of anything, there are likely others that went undetected.

So a bug that hasn't been seen in years just now re-appears when tens of millions of dollars of construction pork spending was going to be derailed? How convenient.

Get an independent lab to repeat the results and then we'll talk.

What we will never hear from the Water Bureau is whether or not the oocysts were infectious or noninfectious and since the infectious kind is found in human or cow waste and there are no humans or cows near the Bull Run Watershed, chances are really really good that these oocysts are not infectious. They have been trying like crazy to find any crypto, any whatsoever, up at Bull Run and they have taken extreme measures to do so by even taking scat samples off of the ground in the watershed - all to no avail. After the dirty tricks the Water Bureau has pulled over the past few years (the WA Park "probably a sea gull" contamination and the drunk guy peeing on the wall at Mt Tabor and skating away scott free) one has to wonder about this newest claim. Slime bags.

Per PWB's news release, they tested an average of 565 gallons/year since 2002, including the "intensive" 2011 sampling of 3,500 gallons (for the entire year).

Household "retail" consumption averages 289 gallons/daily (multiplied by 181,200 "retail service" customers).

So they tested 3,500 gallons out of 19,113,882,000 gallons consumed last year, which equals 0.0000183% of the water consumed by retail customers.

If you extrapolate 2 oocysts in 3,500 gallons over a one year period, there is a possibility of 10.9 million oocysts in the water which went untested.

I'm no statistician, but I believe their sampling size is too small. You can't find something you aren't looking for.

"You can't find something you aren't looking for."

I think there's a country-western song in there somehwere.

Where the heck did Randy get one of those to throw into Bull Run?

This could be worth another $80M/year in PWB revenue!!!!!

Why do I have the image of an envelope containing a mating pair of crryptosporidia being passed to an operative in a dark parking garage?

No doubt the perp is the same guy who was hired to urinate in the Mt. Tabor reservoir.

Allan, you didn't say anything I wasn't thinking. It's hard not to be paranoid when the Sam Rand twins make you look like a Pollyanna optimist.

Is it possible to "salt" the crypto into the Bull Run waters? Are these little buggers available from a lab somewhere? Lastly, who stands to profit the most?

Who was at the bargaining table representing the City when Randy Leonard was the PFFA honcho?

David Shaff


Who later became the Water Bureau Administrator under Commissioner Randy Leonard?

David Shaff


Who - for a while - was the City's highest paid employee?

David Shaff


Who would be best "qualified" to find cryptosporidium just in time for Randy Leonard to award a multi-million dollar contract?

Yup.

"Here I sit,
Broken-hearted,
Tried to contaminate the Bull Run Reservoir with cryptosporidium,
But only..."

Jack--Your last paragraph says it all.

Given that crypto is so hard to find....and they're not looking at where it's most likely to be (i.e. re-circulating play fountains) AND....if they find it, can't even say if it's harmful but will require that they spend $100M(for appetizers) instead of on what really needs doing which is replacing pipes that people have been told "should have been replaced 30 yrs. ago").

I've heard stories that are largely buried by the PWB about illness from toxic crud that can be dislodged by too much water through the pipes and go untreated into people's homes causing deaths to pets and severe illness (diarhea, vomitting and extreme ulcers in their mouths and possible hearing damage). The PWB either denied or gave the wrong advice ('boil water' which just concentrates it. It happens to all the people on the 'down' side of a street at the same time when they can see things floating in their water (once they notice since they were busy throwing up).

True....all the water samples were gone by the time they had a clue what might be causing it....more denials including fresh chlorination by PWB. So, it can't be proved but as the PWB suggested, it seems a stretch to me that they all got food poisoning at the same time on the same block. There are many emails to back this up and I heard it also happened recently in Kenton.....where else has it happened that we aren't hearing about? This is a reason for 'drinker beware' and to get a water filter despite having great water.

CRYPTO WON'T GET YOU BUT THE DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM MIGHT.....ACTUALLY, THE SYMPTOMS DON'T SOUND THAT DIFFERENT!

Some watchdogs have been concerned that PWB would “find a little cyrpto” eventually since so much deception has been uncovered and their grand plan has been unraveling.

Problem is they cannot be trusted. Trust has been lost in so many ways. It became most obvious last summer when NY Senator Schumer stood up for the water in NY and asked EPA to reconsider the LT2 and got a positive response back from EPA. It became obvious something was not right when NY requested an extension they got from 2028 to 2034, yet our officials wouldn't ask until the 11th hour, and then for a Variance instead of a Waiver. However, meanwhile, PWB moved forward fast, they couldn't wait and during the Christmas holidays went over to Clackamas County to ask for permits for a treatment plant even though they hadn’t heard yet from the State for the Variance for the plant.

In my opinion, it has come down to whatever they have to do, they must do in order to continue the grand plan, even if it takes our water rights from the community, even if it costs the people who live here enormous amounts of money, even if we have to swallow toxic chemicals, even if radon comes into our living spaces, even if they have to engage in deception. There are people who want this who have no conscience, but are addicts, addicted to plans, power, and more and more money, and of course there is never enough!

When we hear of what SpendItWisely wrote, it seems sheer neglect on the part of the PWB to focus on new unnecessary projects at the expense of deferred maintenance.

What good is a treatment plant that apparently PWB wants since they are asking for permits, when the very pipes then delivering the water to our homes are ignored. Bizarre to say the least!!


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