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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Portland reservoir disconnected for good?

After yesterday's song and dance about bacterial contamination, and the trashing of the west side's Saturday night with a "boil water" alert (complete with groovy logo), the City of Portland this morning decided that it was safe to drink out of the taps once again. The press release had an interesting passage in it about Washington Park reservoir no. 3:

As a precaution, the reservoir is being drained and will be inspected. An investigation into determining the source of contamination is ongoing. The reservoir may be put back into service once it is determined to be safe to do so.

It "may be." Does that mean it may not be, even after it's been cleaned?

Anyway, with oodles of overtime and another supporting incident for the unnecessary underground mega-tanks being built on the east side, all in all it's been a fine weekend for the bureaucrats. And thank heaven the cargo bikes were standing by ready to save us.

Comments (6)

YARRR - Yet another Reason to Raise Rates!

Which means that the water bureau thinks that the water that had alread left the reservoir, and is sitting in the pipes, is safe also.

Whatever it takes to get those reservoirs covered!

And whatever it takes to "get those projects done"
as soon as possible before EPA might determine
the projects are no longer required!

Will the reservoir be disconnected for good? It is unlikely, though with water demand down since 1986 and a lack of an east side industrial area, the City has an excess of in-town storage on both the east and west side. Excessive storage causes water quality problems.
In the summer the Bureau needs to make sure they have enough storage to deal with fires though.

Current Storage capacity as reported to OHA/EPA by PWB

Mt. Tabor Res 1- 12MG

Mt. Tabor Res 5-49 MG

Mt. Tabor Res 6 - 75MG

Reservoir 6 has not been used for drinking water since Sept. 2010

Replacement Tabor storage as planned by PWB, 50MG at Powell Butte ($137 million, demolition of 10MG tank at Kelly Butte to be replaced by 25MG tank ($90 million)

Washington Park Res 3-16.4 MG

Washington Park Res4 -17.6 MG

Plan is to demolish Res. 3 and replace with oddly shaped tank cutting storage capacity in half utilizing direct flow as replacement.

EPA is 9 years into their 6-year revision of the Coliform rule, the rule that addresses bacteria and other distribution system issues. EPA has documented the real public health problems, deaths and illnesses only with covered storage. Why? Covered storage are not airtight, they have vents, entrances and exits for inspection, cleaning.Disinfection by products don't vent.

The best way to prevent bacteria detects including the harmless detects at Res. 3 is with a good operations and maintenance program that includes routine system flushing and cleaning.

Bacteria detects cannot be eliminated entirely.

There has never been any public health problems associated with Portland's open reservoirs and EPA has not documented any public health problems with ANY open reservoirs, just covered storage.

The media needs to let this community know
the negative results of the covered storage tanks.
Covered does not equate to better or safe.

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