Installation of new wastewater, water lines required trenching up a 400-foot-tall hillside and digging down more than 30 feet

JASON CHANEY - Taylor NW workers dug a trench about 30-feet deep at the top of the rimrock to run wastewater lines that will meet future industrial growth needs without the need of a pump.

The City of Prineville is now about halfway done with a nearly $8.2 million dollar water and wastewater line project.

Launched this past spring, the city is running four new pipes from the local valley floor to the airport industrial area. One wastewater line varies in diameter from 18 to 30 inches and covers 8,312 lineal feet, while another 12-inch line runs 6,630 feet. Joining those pipes are a 10,931-foot long, 16-inch water main and a 12-inch line measuring 6,534 linear feet.

The work is not without its challenges. City Engineer Eric Klann points out that a new road had to be built up the hill from Prineville's wastewater treatment facility to enable trenching for and construction of the pipes.

Now, that work is done, and pipes are getting installed at the top of the rimrock with an endpoint just north of Highway 126 near the Prineville Airport. And though the terrain is flatter, the trenches are getting deeper.

"It is kind of slow going right now," Klann said. "The sewer is 32 feet deep."

Facebook and Apple paid an additional $1.7 million to have the lines installed at that depth so that both data centers can continue development without the need for sewer pump stations.

The excavator Taylor NW needed to dig that deep is so large, Klann said, it was brought in on four Lowboy trailers and pieced together on site. The construction company is installing about 40 linear feet of pipe per day.

The wastewater and water line project, known as the Airport Industrial Park Utility Extension Project, is intended to increase infrastructure in the area, which has seen substantial growth in recent years.

"That airport industrial area is kind of a satellite portion of the city's infrastructure," Klann said, pointing out that location has very limited connectivity for water and wastewater as well as limited capacity for both. "We have a wonderful opportunity with this project to use system development charges to really boost the capacity of that area up there."

The 16-inch water main, which also features installation of a 2,000 gallon per minute booster pump station, will replace an 8-inch water line that connects the airport industrial area to the Prineville valley floor.

The change will enable the city to move water up to the airport area, an option that isn't currently possible with the 8-inch line.

The 18 to 30-inch wastewater line will replace an 8-inch line, and provide additional collection capacity for future growth in the airport industrial area.

The additional 12-inch water line and wastewater line are intended for future use. The water pipe may be used to transmit polished wastewater up to the airport area for use by data centers. The wastewater line, meanwhile, may be used to "collect the blowdown brine from data center interests if DEQ requires pretreatment of the waste stream."

Completion of the project is expected sometime next spring.

"The good news is this is all system development charges coming in — new growth is paying for this," Klann said of the project. "It is really just opening ourselves up for any new industry that wants to come up to the airport area."

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