The city of Portland will not have to build a $70 million water treatment plant. That's the upshot of a decision announced Wednesday by state health authorities.
Oregon health officials have granted Portland a variance from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. That allows the city to keep using untreated water from the protected Bull Run watershed. Oregon health administrator, Gail Shibley says it's a national precedent.
Shibley said, "This request for a variance has never been requested before, it's never been used before."
The city found the parasite, cryptosporidium, during the state evaluation period. Portland Water Bureau administrator, David Shaff says that didn't stop the variance -- but it changed it.
Shaff explained, "I was confident that the state was going to issue the variance, but I also felt in my gut that they were going to put more stringent conditions on us, and they did."
The bureau is also pursuing a five-year delay from rules related to the city's open reservoirs -- because of an upcoming federal rule review.