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If A Bear Poops In The Woods, Does Portland Have To Filter Its Water?

Portland leaders will have to decide Wednesday about meeting a federal rule for water quality. April Baer reports.

Portland's been fighting the federal government for several years over mandated cryptosporidium screens in the city's famously high-quality Bull Run Watershed.

Water Bureau Director David Shaff says the city is making a case to get a waiver, doing computer models and testing hot spots.

The microscopic parasite is most often spread by feedlots, sewage, and mammals.

David Shaff:   "We are going to put together a protocol to go out and do sampling at certain areas, where large mammals tend to congregate in the Bull Run Watershed. By gosh, we are going to go out and look for bear poop."

This week, Council will vote on a proposal directing the water bureau to continue pursuing the variance, but also put the system in compliance, just in case.

That would mean building one of two treatment plants: a $385 million filtration plant, or a $100 million system that relies on ultra violet technology.