Bend’s city council has approved a plan for a new $30 million water filtration plant for the city’s water supply at Bridge Creek. The facility is being built to comply with federal requirements that the city protect against disease-causing microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium.
Councilors voted 4 to 3 to go with a membrane filtration system that physically removes contaminants. The other option was a system that uses ultraviolet light to kill any microorganisms that could be in the water.
Tom Hickmann is the Director of Bend’s Engineering and Infrastructure Planning Department. He says while the UV option would have been less expensive, it had some drawbacks.
“The problem with UV is as the turbidity in the water increases, that’s the suspended materials in the water, as that goes up, the ability for that UV light to penetrate goes down,” said Hickmann.
Hickmann says UV would also be ineffective if wildfire were to contaminate the watershed with debris.
Bend has less than a year to comply with the federal regulations. But Hickmann says the city may have to seek an extension.