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Current plan has its roots in 2002 Willamette River Water Treatment Plant


by: SPOKESMAN FILE PHOTO: JOSH KULLA - Wilsonvilles Willamette River Water Treatment Plant, shown here, currently can treat up to 15 million gallons of water per day. The Tualatin Valley Water District board of directors voted unanimously last April to tap into the Willamette River in partnership with Hillsboro. The Hillsboro City Council, meanwhile, voted in February to pursue the Willamette River option for its future water needs.

The district presently serves more than 200,000 customers in Beaverton, Hillsboro, Tigard and unincorporated Washington County. The number of residents it serves is expected to grow by more than 100,000 over the next 35 years.

Right now, the district currently serves up just shy of 50 million gallons a day during peak periods, but it expects that number to grow to 72 million gallons a day by 2050.

Wilsonville comes into play because the water district already owns a stake in Wilsonville’s water treatment plant, thanks to its involvement over a decade ago in building the plant. The district also owns water rights on the Willamette River as a member of the Willamette River Water Coalition, a group that also includes the cities of Tualatin, Sherwood and Tigard.

There would need to be another plant built on the site to carry out the plan. But the site was actually designed with expansion in mind, so it likely will be a matter of available funding more than anything else that determines how and when the project is carried forward.

Wilsonville’s water permit through the Oregon Water Resources Department is for 20 million gallons per day, according to city Public Works Director Delora Kerber. Meanwhile, the Willamette River Coalition currently has its own state permit for up 130 million gallons a day.

Wilsonville’s water treatment plant was constructed jointly by the Tualatin Valley Water District and the city of Wilsonville in 2002. It currently provides Wilsonville with up to 10 million gallons of treated water a day. The plant currently has the ability to treat 15 million gallons per day. The city of Sherwood currently owns the rights to 5 million gallons per day, and is supplied with Willamette water through a large pipeline running to a reservoir via a meter vault on Tooze Road.

Wilsonville City Attorney Mike Kohlhoff addressed plant expansion last year, when the Wilsonville City Council approved an intergovernmental agreement with Sherwood to construct the final leg of pipeline needed to supply the latter with its full allotment of Willamette water.

“Probably we’ll be looking in the future down the road with regard to plant expansion,” Kohlhoff said at the time. “Hillsboro is talking about coming down here and being part of the Tualatin Valley Water District, and they’re talking about a 72-inch line, which is bigger than what we have now.”

The intake at the Willamette River plant allows up to 70 million gallons of water a day to be drawn from the river.

“That’s the intake facility now,” Kohlhoff said. “But the plant capacity is only 15 million gallons a day, so we’d have to build a lot more plant capacity to get there. But over time that’s how you do it; these things are planned 40 or 50 years into the future and sometimes more.”