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Water bureau moves ahead on filtration plant project
A California company will manage the project to build the filtration plant approved by the City Council to remove contaminents from Bull Run water.
Portland is working to build the plant by 2027 under a compliance schedule with the Oregon Health Authority. The management contract approved by the council on Aug. 29 is not to exceed around $68 million. The total project is currently estimated at $500 million.
The company's announcement was made shortly after the Portland Water Bureau said it plans to seek public feedback on the type of filtration and other details of the project before moving forward with the project, at the direction of Commissioner Amanda Fritz.
Opportunities for feedback will be announced in the next few weeks. Mayor Ted Wheeler transferred the PWB to Fritz from Commissioner Nick Fish on Sept. 4.
The council approved costruction of the plant after the potentially harmful Cryptosporidium parasite was repeatedly found in water in the Bull Run Watershed, the primary source of the city's water.
Brown and Caldwell describes itself as a leading environmental engineering and construction firm. It has worked on many similar projects in the past. The company sent out a press release on Wednesday saying it was "awarded a contract to provide program management services for Portland Water Bureau's (PWB) $500 million Bull Run Filtration Project."
"Public health and safety is the bureau's top priority," Portland Water Bureau (PWB) program director David Peters said in the release. "This transformational opportunity for the city will further protect and improve our primary source of drinking water for the long-term benefit of our customers."
According to the release, Brown and Caldwell will lead pilot testing and project definition work to determine and optimize the preferred treatment system. As program manager, the firm will also provide permitting; management and control of budget, schedule, and risk; and management and review of the work of design engineers and contractors to be retained by PWB in 2019.
"We are honored to help the city of Portland responsibly deliver a water filtration system to reliably and sustainably serve generations to come," Brown and Caldwell program manager Jon Holland said in the release. "We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with PWB for this landmark project for the region."
Following successful pilot testing and design, construction will likely commence in late 2022 with the new facility operational by Sept. 30, 2027, in accordance with the city's agreement with Oregon Health Administration, the release said.
In its Monday press release, PWB said, "While small amounts of Cryptosporidium were detected coming from the Bull Run source starting in 2017, Cryptosporidium has not been detected in Portland's drinking water since April 10, 2018. Over the next nine years, the Portland Water Bureau will be installing a new treatment plant to remove Cryptosporidium from Bull Run drinking water."
According to the PWB release, "Exposure to Cryptosporidium can cause cryptosporidiosis, a serious illness. Symptoms can include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and stomach pain. People with healthy immune systems recover without medical treatment. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with severely weakened immune systems are at risk for more serious disease. Symptoms may be more severe and could lead to serious life-threatening illness. Examples of people with weakened immune systems include those with AIDS, those with inherited diseases that affect the immune system, and cancer and transplant patients who are taking certain immunosuppressive drugs."
Portland also supplies water to some surrounding cities and water districts. They include Burlington, City of Gresham, City of Sandy, City of Tualatin, Green Valley, GNR, Hideaway Hills, Lake Grove, Lorna Portland Water, Lusted, Palatine Hill, Pleasant Home, Raleigh, Rockwood, Skyview Acres, Tualatin Valley, Two Rivers, Valley View and West Slope Water Districts.
Results of ongoing test for Cryptosporidium can be found at www.portlandoregon.gov/water/article/628763.
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