The Oregon Health Authority announced it will not require Portland to build a treatment facility for Bull Run, the city’s water source. This comes after years of effort to convince the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the state that Portland should get a variance from the Safe Drinking Water Act requirement. Once the variance is issued — likely in January after a public comment period — Portland will be the only city in the country to receive this exemption.
The variance frees the city from the requirement to treat its water for the next 10 years. David Shaff, the adminstrator of the Portland Water Bureau, says that will save ratepayers $55 million. The city will be required to continue monitoring Bull Run for cryptosporidium using EPA-approved methods. It may also still have to create covers for the city’s open reservoirs, including Bull Run, which would be costly for ratepayers.
Have you been following Portland’s efforts to avoid building a water treatment plant? What’s your reaction to this news?
- David Shaff: Administrator of the Portland Water Bureau