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Regional program constructs pipe through Arrowhead Creek Park, city to expand plant

COURTESY PHOTO: WWSP - The Willamette Water Supply Program is in the middle of constructing a pipeline and completing other improvements at the Willamette River Water Treatment Plant in Wilsonville.

This story was updated from its original version

In terms of completing improvements at Wilsonville's Willamette River Water Treatment Plant, the next calendar year could be the most active yet.

While the Willamette Water Supply Program, which is a partnership between Tualatin Valley Water District and the cities of Hillsboro and Beaverton, is building a 66-inch pipe through Arrowhead Creek Park (resulting in its closure as of June 1) next to the Morey's Landing neighborhood and making other upgrades, the city of Wilsonville is planning to dole out $25 million for its own expansion at the plant in the upcoming fiscal year.

In 2018, the city finalized an agreement to allow WWSP to build the pipeline through town and use the water intake facility at the plant in exchange for $17 million in prepaid rents as well as seismic improvements and other additions there. Wilsonville and Sherwood will continue to use the plant while the WWSP is building its own treatment plant outside of town.

In the last year, the WWSP has built dozens of underground concrete columns to seismically reinforce the riverbank at the plant to ensure that it doesn't slide into the river in case of an earthquake. This year, the program is planning to add new fish screens (which prevent fish from swimming into the aqueduct) and pump stations to allow for more water to be taken in from the Willamette.

"They benefit the city because now the screens for the river will be able to draw more water from the river and seismic improvements will give us seismic stability so if the Cascadia (subduction zone earthquake) were to hit, it would keep our cason in place and the building around the cason upgraded for seismic stability," City Public Works Director Delora Kerber said.

Meanwhile, WWSP is continuing to build a water pipe through Wilsonville to provide water to other cities through its new treatment plant (though it will take in water from Wilsonville's facility). Arrowhead Creek Park will be closed until Oct. 31.

COURTESY PHOTO: WWSP - A deep soil mixing drill rig in operation on the riverbank next to the Raw Water Pump Station at the treatment plant. "We're really happy to be a year in (to the project) and are looking forward to finishing up the heavy construction through the park so we can reopen it this fall," said Marlys Mock, a communications supervisor for WWSP.

Mock said project workers try to avoid keeping truck engines running while idling and driving backward (activating alarms) to keep noise to a minimum for neighbors.

"It's going well, but it's a huge construction project and it's not fun to live next to one. Once we're done the plant is not noisy to operate, and the pipeline and other facilities really won't have noise generating once they're built," Mock said.

Some areas where the pipe already has been implemented include new sections of Kinsman Road and Garden Acres Road. WWSP plans to start building remaining sections along Kinsman Road, 95th Avenue, Ridder Road and Boeckman Road next year.

"Those were two opportunity projects for us to save money, to essentially eliminate a whole construction project since we're building (the road) at the same time," Mock said.

Mike Nacrelli, a senior engineer, said Wilsonville is completing its own improvements to increase the capacity of the plant in town from 15 million gallons of water per day to 20 million gallons.

"The main elements of that are upgrading the electrical system including a much larger standby generator, (adding) larger pumps and then a larger ozone system (for water treatment)," he said.

However, Nacrelli said the city is behind on hiring a contractor to help finalize the design for the project, so the bulk of the work may be done in the second half of the next fiscal year and the following year.

Of the $25 million allocated in the budget, he said: "We wanted to have the funding available in case we were moving faster than it turns out we've been able to move."

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