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Friends of the Reservoirs


May 2, 2014

From: floy21@msn.com
To: bsallinger@audubonportland.org; mredisch@audubonportland.org; reservoirs@friendsofreservoirs.org
Subject: Reservoirs, open letter to Sallinger, Audubon
Date: Thu, 27 Mar 2014
An open letter to Bob Sallinger, Portland Audubon Society:
 
Bob,
 
I listened to you on the radio today make several comments about the City's plan to bury Portland's open reservoirs, and much of the information you offered was factually inaccurate.  I’m writing to apprise you of the facts in hope that you will stop repeating Water Bureau misinformation about the reservoirs and Portland’s policy options which could yet prevent their decommissioning, had we the leadership at City Hall.
 
You said today that LT2 (the federal “treat or cover” rule) is not a city problem but a problem with the EPA and that the City had no role in the mandate. As you should know, and the City does know, this is simply not true. The City was involved in crafting the EPA LT2 rule back in the late 1990s and early 2000s.  The Portland Water Bureau sent their consultant, Joe Glicker of MWH Global, to Washington D.C. to help craft the EPA LT2 rule.  So in fact, the City played a significant role in the poorly-crafted mandate which is currently under revision .
 
You stated that the only city that has secured a break on covering the open reservoirs is New York city and that the reason is that their reservoir is located remotely. This is not true on two counts. First, New York achieved relief  because they had not fast-tracked their compliance plan in the first place, unlike the PWB.  Second, thanks to sincere efforts by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Senator Chuck Schumer, the entire EPA LT2 rule including the reservoir requirement is now under revision. All utilities can benefit from the revision.  Portland could also benefit from this revision, expected in 2016, but sadly our City Council refuses to take their foot off the gas of the bulldozers long enough to find out.
 
Rochester, NY has two historic open reservoirs set in city parks and they have secured a reservoir “treat-or-cover” deferral until 2028. They are not spending one thin dime on treating or covering their historic open reservoirs until 2022 and by then the rule may be revised to include a "risk mitigation" option that was included in the draft rule and inexplicably removed in the final rule.
 
Having spoken with Rochester utility leaders personally I was easily able to secure their  EPA LT2 documents showing their commitment to preserving their open reservoirs.  Mayor Charlie Hales had an opportunity to seek the same kind of schedule delay from the State of Oregon when he took office.  He could have simply asked Governor Kitzhaber for a delay in the construction schedule to allow time for the rule revision to make its way through the EPA.  Sadly, Hales never even made the request. This is a failure of leadership. He will not be remembered as the Mayor who destroyed Portland’s open reservoirs, but he is the one who could have saved them and didn’t.

Floy Jones

 

WATER BUREAU AND OTHER NEWS

If you have not been able to keep up with all of the recent Water Bureau, BES and campaign news read on as I've linked to some of the recent articles. I am not posting the hundreds of articles rightly ridiculing the Water Bureau for dumping 38 million gallons (or more) when there was no evidence that any urine made it into the water (and if it had, the result .02 parts per billion). Had the young man urinated beyond the fence , the urine would have hit the steeply sloping wall and not the water. Fish confirmed that the dumping of the 38 million gallons ( ultimately, in part, moved from Res. 5 to Res.6- more game playing) was a public relations media ploy suggesting that this (hyped) incident would support "treating or covering" Portland's open reservoirs. When Fish was first running for office he sent me a hand-written note thanking me for sharing with him what we'd learned about Portland's water system and the EPA regulation. In the note Fish said he would support sound science in water system decision making. So much for that.

Note that Reservoir 5 had just been cleaned the week before the incident so 38 million gallons was dumped twice in a 10 day period. The previous week the Water Bureau had been intensively flushing much of east Portland encountering many problems as a result of all of the unnecessary construction projects.

MAY 6 MEETING ON DEGRADATION PLAN- WATER BUREAU LAND USE (LU)
In a separate e-mail, we'll address the upcoming "managing the public" meeting set for Tuesday, May 6 6:30-8:30 p.m. Warner Pacific College 2219 S.E. 68th focused in-the-park work related to severing the open reservoirs. What is most significant about the May 6 meeting is what you will NOT be allowed to discuss. Nick Fish will not show up for any utility public meetings until after he is reelected.
Fish's Water Bureau headed by Leonard crony David Shaff (Joe Glicker's neighbor), is following the same "managing the public" formula Joe Glicker (MWH Global/ CH2M Hill) promoted in PWB documents (secured through public records requests) and employed when speaking to a crowd of 200 at Warner Pacific College in 2002- telling us that we could not discuss our water system, only what might happen at the reservoir sites, after the degradation.

 

PLENTY TO LEARN
Mayor Hales released his budget yesterday. Though not yet reported by the media, the budget includes a 7% water rate increase and a 4% BES increase (effective in July with the rate hearing May 15). No evidence of Hales addressing any of the opportunities for savings including the middle manager problem revealed in a study that showed that 33 managers at the Water Bureau supervise 3 or less employees (span of control study). The WB says this is another way to give employees an increase. Many of these same employees (engineers) received a big salary level increase during the recession in 2008 while other bureaus were laying off and ratepayers were struggling with salary cuts, layoffs, loss of homes and high utility bills .

From the articles linked below you will learn that the Water Bureau was fined for discharging chlorinated water into Johnson Creek. This wholly avoidable discharge was related to Powell Butte tank construction project. As was early reported by KOIN news investigative reporter Carla Castono this overly costly tank is leaking enough to fill an olympic size pool every day. Massive tank leaking is not normal. Wholesale customers and others who were discussing this major problem prior to the KOIN report suggest that the leaking is a CH2M Hill tank design flaw.

You will learn that Hales cancelled last week's City Club committee presentation, the committee that was headed by PGE Exec. Chris Liddle recommending yet on another commissioner (Fish) appointed board- cancelling the presentation for political reasons. You can read Andrew Theen's profile of Kent Craford, who when he was the director of the Portland Water Users Coalition arranged for their hiring an attorney to look into options to protect the functionality of Portland's open reservoirs.

You'll learn that city hall wants no restrictions on pet project spending and thus plans to appeal Judge Bushong's decision restricting spending. The court thus far has only addressed 4 of a much longer list of non-mission spending by the PWB and BES. Hales supported pet-project spending long before Randy Leonard (see press release at bottom of page).

You can also read the Oregonian's truth squading of some of the anti-reform campaign's false and misleading statements about the ballot measure. And then there are the two election law violations which the secretary of state likely will fail to conclude prior to the election though she already knows everything she needs to know at least on the first violation. I believe this was how she handled the election law violations by the school board.

You'll learn that Hales' corporation HDR joins CH2M Hill, monopoly utilities, and other polluters in the "no" campaign supporting big budgets and high rates. You can also read an opinion piece by Siltronic the corporation that Audubon and others in the anti-reform camp have vilified. The anti camp has 3 polluters supporting their money grabbing cause, while Siltronic has received environmental awards from the City for 11 years. But they continue on with the plural "polluters" rhetoric. Go to Willamette Week website if you want to see the WW editorial board call out the anti-reform camp on the name of their PAC, just as environmentalist Regna Merritt called them out on this disingenuous name. Scroll toward the end of the interview, right before they are asked what they would support as reform, and their mouths hang open. None of us working to protect our Bull Run system and ratepayer's pocketbooks have seen any of these folks working on any Bull Run issues at any time in the last 12 years.

ARTICLES & PRESS RELEASE

May 1- Hale's HDR joins powerful CH2MHill and the anti-reform campaign.
HDR is not just into streetcars they have a water division and have been awarded Water Bureau contracts previously investigated by Friends of the Reservoirs.

http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-31560-streetcar_money_arrives_late_in_water_district_bal.html

Kent Craford profile by Andrew Theen

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/portland_public_water_district_6.html#incart_m-rpt-1

April 29- Hales cancels City Club/ Portland Business Alliance presentation for political reasons

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/portland_city_club_presention.html

Siltronic op-ed

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/04/why_siltronic_supports_creatio.html

City Council supports pet-project spending, wants to appeal court ruling.

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/portland_utility_lawsuit_city.html

http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/218437-78841-city-want-to-appeal-reasonably-related-standard-in-utility-suit
Truth-squading "risk to environment" and pet-project lawsuit
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/portland_public_water_district_2.html

Truth-squading Superfund liability & Loss of jobs PPWD
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/portland_public_water_district_3.html
State fines Water Bureau for discharge into johnson creek.
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/portland_fined_40800_by_state.html
http://www.opb.org/news/article/state-deq-fines-portland-40k-for-water-release-into-johnson-creek/

State DEQ Fines Portland $40K For Water
Release Into Johnson Creek

OPB | April 25, 2014 12:11 p.m. | Portland
CONTRIBUTED BY:
Cassandra Profita
The state has fined the city of Portland $40,800 for discharging chlorine
into Johnson Creek. The chlorine came from drinking water used to test
the city’s newly constructed Powell Butte reservoir.
The city is required to remove chlorine from drinking water before
releasing it into Johnson Creek. According to the Oregon Department of
Environmental Quality, the city failed to do so 14 times last year.
Jeff Bachman, compliance and enforcement officer for Oregon
Department of Environmental Quality, said three of the releases
contained levels of chlorine far beyond what is known to kill
aquatic wildlife.
“It’s toxic, so it will kill,” Bachman said. “The most sensitive species are
going to be the bottom of the food chain species, so it’ll be the benthic
organisms, critters, bugs, which the fish need to survive.”
Portland Water Bureau administrator David Shaff says his agency has
taken steps to prevent future violations. He says part of the problem was
that the contractor building the new reservoir didn’t use the right method
to test chlorine levels in the water before discharging it.
Shaff explained, “We haven’t made a decision on whether to appeal. I
think it’s likely if we have to pay any portion of the fine or the entire fine,
at lease some of it will be shared responsibility with the contractor.”
The city has until May 7 to pay the fine or appeal the penalty.

Election law violations
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/mayor_charlie_hales_staff_accu.html
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/campaign_violation_aide_to_may.html
Anna Griffen contentious fight over water
http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2014/04/the_politics_of_water_portland.html
Hales supported Pet-project spending 14 years ago- April 22, 2014

Ratepayer Advocates to Charlie Hales: Give Back Sewer Money Used for City Hall Pet Project

Charlie Hales is the only sitting City Council member who voted to spend $950,000 in sewer funds to acquire Centennial Mills, a City Hall pet project unrelated to the sewer system which continues to molder on the banks of the Willamette River.

PORTLAND—Ratepayer advocates are drawing attention to a long-forgotten project that may be one of the earliest examples of illegal water and sewer spending, unwittingly thrown into the spotlight by opponents of water/sewer reform.
The 15-year-old City Hall pet project was featured in a new attack ad released yesterday against the Portland Public Water District initiative, Measure 26-156. In the video, a factory is depicted belching animated smoke. The factory is actually Centennial Mills, a former flour mill purchased by the Portland Development Commission from Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) in 2000.
The anti-water reform campaign, led by Mayor Charlie Hales, inadvertently showcased Centennial Mills in their ad, apparently unaware that fifteen years earlier then-Commissioner Charlie Hales voted to dip into the City Hall sewer slush fund to purchase the property.
“Charlie Hales was siphoning off water and sewer funds for City Hall pet projects way before Randy Leonard made it cool. After fifteen years, and nothing to show for it, Charlie Hales should pay the money back to ratepayers,” said Kent Craford, Co-Chief Petitioner of Measure 26-156.
Attachment: 1999 City Council Ordinance 174177 authorizing $950,000 in BES funds for the acquisition of Centennial Mills.

 

March 20, 2014

Watch this short video at the Portland Public Water District Youtube channel !

A Look Back: Portland's Water Rate Crisis
Runtime: 3 minutes, 43 seconds

http://youtu.be/2pWeo93IoEc


Another good video - the full March 6 Forum meeting is available at:

Portland Public Water District Forum 3-6-14

http://youtu.be/4qMgRM3Ci1s
Runtime 1 hour, 47 minutes

(Regna Merritt’s testimony can be found at 1 hour, 3 minutes, and 40 seconds.
Move Youtube’s progress bar to “1:03:40”.)

And, don't miss these important blog posts:

FROM THE CO-CHAIR
MESSAGES FROM S.STEWART, ONE OF THE LAND USE CHAIRS FOR THE MT. TABOR NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION (PORTLAND, OREGON)

http://mtna-landuse.blogspot.com

SUNDAY, MARCH 16, 2014
Why I now, personally support the Portland Public Water District
http://mtna-landuse.blogspot.com/2014/03/why-i-now-personally-support-portland.html

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014
Tabor Disconnect - Tentative timeline, public outreach by PWB

http://mtna-landuse.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2014-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2015-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&max-results=7

 

March 2, 2014

Please join us this Thursday March 6, 2014

Portland Public Water District Forum FOR FULL VIDEO OF THIS MEETING ----- SEE http://youtu.be/4qMgRM3Ci1s
May 2014 Ballot Measure
March 6, 7-9 p.m.

Mt. Tabor Presbyterian Church, 5541 SE Belmont St., basement dining hall

Chief Petitioners Floy Jones and Kent Craford will discuss the extensive history supporting the need for utility reform and review the specific provisions of the Portland Public Water District ballot measure. Prohibit privatization, regionalization, blending Bull Run water with other lower quality sources such as the Willamette and ensconce Bull Run protections in the City Charter. There will be plenty of time for Q and A. Stop City Hall abuses, get the facts and get involved. Visit www.waterreform.org or Portlanders for Water Reform facebook for more information.

KOIN INVESTIGATION REVEALS $137 Million Newly Constructed Powell Butte Tank Is Leaking!
Some weeks back I received a 3rd hand tip that the new $137 million Powell Butte II reservoir has serious problems, that it had cracks and was leaking! I knew that the Portland Water Bureau would stonewall public records requests as they have done for decades. They've stonewalled a separate request of mine on spending on hotels, etc. related to conference travel, stonewalling since November. Over the last 12 years the most significant information we've learned about Water Bureau plans and spending has come not from the information they've handed us but from the information they've withheld. It was only through a public records request in 2008 that we uncovered the WB's $400 million plan to bury Portland's open reservoirs avoiding bringing stakeholders together to determine any action on the open reservoirs in defiance of the 2004 Reservoir panel Council ordinance.

Thanks to Carla Castano with KOIN news for their public records request. Water loss of 280,000 galllons a day from 1200 cracks is a significant problem. Some of the engineers she spoke with who refused to go on record due to their relationship with the PWB suggested a design flaw (CH2Mhill/ Joe Glicker design http://friendsofreservoirs.org/Consultant%20Contracts3jan11%2011x17%20LT2.pdf) And the Water Bureau who is always big on propaganda such that one of FOR's official recommendations to Hales last year was to cut PR spending, spending that is hidden in consultant contracts, Bull Run tour program, and every WB program- they are now silent on this costly mess.

Listen to the KOIN report here,http://koin.com/2014/02/26/powell-butte-reservoir-failing-leak-tests/
While this is truly stunning on one level, it is not at all surprising to those of us who have been calling out the many problems at the Portland Water Bureau for many years, the crony mismanagement, the wasteful, unnecessary "fun" expansion spending on while water demand has declined for 26 years (the Water Bureau estimates that water demand will continue to decline) the cozy consultant relationships, lack of accountability and lack of transparency.WB engineer Stan Vanderberg described this and the Kelly Butte project as "fun" projects while at the time glossing over a request to OHA for a "deferral".

KOIN secured documents indicate 1200 cracks, with the reservoir leaking increasing, with some suggesting that the tank design( the CH2MHill design) may be flawed. In April 2007 Friends of the Reservoirs (Floy Jones) and Portland Large Water Users rep. Kent Craford met with then PWB director David Shaff and Bureau engineer regarding plans for constructing a second Powell Butte tank. None of the Water Bureau's stated reasons for proceeding held water. The WB said the basis was improve fire flow and improve the Washington County Supply Line/ Tualatin Valley (TVWD) supply. We objected to the project based on the lack of need and cost. Only later was it revealed that replacing the upgraded well-functioning Tabor reservoirs was another basis.
We argued that this project was not essential in that bluff fire demonstrated that there wasn't fire flow problem that necessitated such a project and TVWD was likely leaving Portland for the Willamette, and further retrofitting the 1980 PB1 reservoir was identified by the Bureau as low priority (cost for retrofitting PB1 has escalated from $5 million to over $35 million, 50% of the cost of total replacement according to a 2006 consultant report).

The leaking of the new Powell Butte tank is symptomatic of much bigger problems, unqualified political cronies running a water utility, awarding major contracts to their friends and providing inadequate project management, and most importantly lack of consideration of ratepayer interests.

July 22, 2013

PORTLAND PUBLIC WATER DISTRICT INITIATIVE PETITION HAS BEEN FILED
Attached is a .pdf of the Portland Public Water District (PPWD) initiative language that was submitted to the Clerk's office on Thursday.

Portland Public Water District Initiative.pdf

The press release that includes a chart showing rate increases and denotes key provisions in the initiative is also attached.

PPWD press release Chart .pdf

Below find the statement that FOR made at the press conference, little of which was reported in the media.

PPWD statement by Floy Jones.pdf

Media coverage overall was good though the Oregonian did not attend, and another news organization arrived late, and therefore did not hear the great testimony of Tom Keenan of Portland Bottling and others.

Video of the July 17 Press Portland Public Water District conference: https://vimeo.com/70756216  

Portlanders for Water Reform on Facebook ---- https://www.facebook.com/pages/Portlanders-for-Water-Reform/198777246955033

There will be those who oppose an independent utility district, those that oppose sorely needed structural change.
The opposition will come primarily from those who have contracts with BES (and PWB), from those who benefit financially from the status quo. We've asked the media to ask those who oppose an independent public utility district for Portland to identify all contracts that they have received from BES or PWB. Those running for a position on the PPWD board will have to identify in the voter's pamphlet conflicts of interest, and conflict of interest provisions are included in the initiative.

It should be clear from the initiative language that programs that are directly related to the primary mission of the utilities will carry on with an independent board, for example "green" stormwater management such as bioswales.

SIGNATURE GATHERING KICK-OFF EVENT
We hope to get started in the next couple of weeks collecting signatures for the PPWD. We expect a ballot title from the City by end of this next week, and if the City doesn't otherwise stall we'll schedule a kick-off signature gathering event shortly thereafter. Those wanting to protect Portland's drinking water, avoid regionalization and privatization and create a management structure that allows Portland to benefit from the 2016 revision of the poorly crafted EPA regulation need to get involved. In order to turn around 30 years of bad management of the Portland Water Bureau (many different Czars in charge over the years, but yet they are all the same), it is going to take all hands on deck. Volunteer and donate.

There isn't a website yet for Portlanders for Water Reform, but you could be the first to visit the facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Portlanders-for-Water-Reform/198777246955033 Thanks to Brad Yazzolino and Mark Coleman for their great photos. More or maybe different photos will be posted soon.
I'm confident that as chief petitioners we will be kept abreast of the important stuff, but keep in mind that neither Kent Craford or myself are on facebook.

Senator Merkley and PWB Washington Park reservoir meeting

In a separate e-mail, we will advise on a recent EPA LT2 conference call with Merkley's office and the glossy Portland Water Bureau flyer announcing a meeting next Thursday on their fast-tracked $61 million Washington Park reservoir degradation project. For at least two decades cozy PWB consultants have received ratepayer dollars to assist and often lead the preparation of reservoir propaganda material; PR dollars are built into all of the PWB cozy consultant contracts related to treatment plants, buried tanks and other unnecessary projects.

 

June 23 2013

FRIENDS OF THE RESERVOIRS RESPONSE TO OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY'S DENIAL
Please take a minute to read the attached Friends of the Reservoirs response to the Oregon Health Authority's unsupported denial of deferral of onerous reservoir projects. PDF: Response to the Oregon Health Authority's rejection of the City of Portland's request to
defer "onerous" LT2 open reservoir projects at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park, projects that by all
accounts will provide no measurable public health benefit. We ask that the OHA and the City of
Portland go back to the drawing board and work together to approve a lengthy deferral.

YOUR HELP (Please see June 12, 2013 below, for what you can do now.)
Some of you have forwarded replies you've received from Representative Blumenauer, thank you. We have not seen a reply to letters to Senator Merkley. If you would be so kind, it would be appreciated if you would forward replies to your letters to Senator Merkley and Representative Blumenauer. Send to floy21@msn.com

FOR's letter to Portland City Council asking that they SUPPORT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE AND go to the Congressional Delegation IMMEDIATELY:

Dear Mayor Hales and Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Novick and Saltzman,

Attached (Above at this site) find the Friends of the Reservoirs (FOR) response to OHA's unsupported denial of deferral of reservoir projects.

Community stakeholders were stunned to learn via a Friday afternoon leak to Willamette Week that the new City Council decided to throw in the towel on preserving the function of Portland's recently upgraded open reservoirs. This action contradicts the City's federal legislative agenda and public process protocol. Years ago the Congressional delegation told us to come back to them when other options have been exhausted. Representative Blumenauer recently demonstrated leadership on this issue encouraging OHA to approve the deferral given Portland's demonstration of performance as documented by the massive sampling at the outlets of the open reservoirs. Senator Merkley has been supportive in the past. Unfortunately, to date Portland City Council has sent the Congressional delegation only mixed messages with regard to securing relief.

The Mayor's June 3, 2013 statement signed by four City Council members incorrectly states that all legal options have been exhausted. Many legal options including Congressional legislation remain and should be vigorously pursued. We agree with Commissioner Fritz that the City's next step should be to go to the Congressional delegation. Commissioner Randy Leonard precluded this from occurring last year.

A review of the OHA's deferral review process, including review of internal OHA communications and documents (secured through public records requests), makes clear that there was a complete failure to communicate in any meaningful, substantive way, between the City of Portland and the OHA. While Commissioner Novick's letter was a great door opener, success requires an ongoing cooperative effort to reach a rational agreement. It requires taking the effort up to the next level, to the Governor. Where was your appeal to the Governor, Mayor Hales? Where was the lobbying effort? The City's failure to communicate stands in stark contrast to the cooperative nature of the agreement which allows Rochester a 10-year deferral of plans to "treat" at the outlet of their two historic open reservoirs set in City parks. ( LT2 does not mandate any utility not to use uncovered reservoirs, but to "treat or cover" to address Cryptosporidium, Giardia and viruses.)

Ratepayers would not be faced with the burden of unnecessary projects today had NOT the PWB defied the 2004 Independent Reservoir Panel ordinance in 2009. This ordinance required that stakeholders be brought together before any reservoir decisions are made. It requires the same today.

So far, two consecutive Mayors have failed to stand up for our water system. Mayor Bloomberg engaged personally to save NYC's reservoir as did Rochester's Mayor Richards. Look to NYC and Rochester as examples of how to succeed. NYC and Rochester have been successful because they have been sincere in their interest in securing rational alternatives to the onerous requirements.

WE REQUEST THAT CITY COUNCIL SUPPORT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE AND THAT Mayor Hales go to the Congressional Delegation IMMEDIATELY and ask for their help. Ask that they introduce legislation that deems Portland compliant with LT2. We all know that where there is a will there is a way. The Congressional delegation has succeeded in the past in securing protective legislation for Bull Run. They can succeed again.

Portland is blessed with the best drinking water system in the world. Let's keep it that way by preserving the functionality of Portland's open reservoirs. A long list of community stakeholder organizations, your constituents, support this as evidenced by our November 2012 letter to OHA. As FOR recently testified at Council, we will pursue every option, including continued participation in the LT2 rule review and revision process. If City Council fails us again we will work in support of alternate management of the Portland Water Bureau, a P.U.D..

Sincerely,

Floy Jones
Friends of the Reservoirs

cc Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association
Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association
Southeast Uplift Coalition of Neighborhoods
Regna Merritt, Physicians for Social Responsibility
Kent Craford, Portland Water Users Coalition

June 13 2013

February 5, 2013 Letter from US House Representative Earl Blumenauer to D. Leland at the Oregon Health Authority.

June 3, 2013 Hales letter declaring Portland is giving up.

February 4, 2013 Letter from Commissioner Steve Novick to D. Leland at the Oregon Health Authority.

 

June 12 2013

Step Up the Fight to Protect Your Drinking Water and Protect Portland's Open Reservoirs! 

 

By now many of you have heard the news that City leaders (Hales, Fish, Novick and Saltzman) announced that they are abandoning the facade of the City fighting to retain Portland's open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park. This backroom decision to march on with the Water Bureau's fast-track plan to bury or eliminate Portland's open reservoirs was made despite the fact that the scientifically unsupported EPA LT2 regulation is scheduled for revision by 2016, thanks to NYC's Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Chuck Schumer. The reservoir news was leaked to the press late day a week ago Friday, then made official via a statement on Monday, June 3 (statement attached). 

 

 Friends of the Reservoirs and our other partner organizations want to assure you that even though the City has thrown in the towel on protecting the ratepayer investment in Portland's well-functioning, recently upgraded open reservoirs, the people have not. The City most certainly has NOT exhausted all legal options as their statement indicates.

 

Throwing in the towel is inconsistent with the City's official federal legislative priority to secure relief from the reservoir requirements, requirements that by all accounts will provide no measurable public health benefit.  Throwing in the towel is also inconsistent with good governance and sustainability policies. 

 

Commissioner Fritz got it right  when she said that the appropriate next step is to go to the Congressional delegation. The delegation told us years ago to first exhaust all other options then come to them. Rep. Blumenauer recently took a leadership role in  writing to the Oregon Health Authority (Blumenauer letter attached) supporting Portland's request for a deferral of onerous reservoir projects such that we could benefit from the rule revision.  Senator Merkley has been supportive in the past. Last year, before Friends of the Reservoirs uncovered Rochester's deferral (kept secret by David Shaff, Water Bureau administrator and Randy Leonard crony), Commissioner Fritz proposed going back to the delegation, but Randy Leonard wouldn't allow it. 

 

 Why were community stakeholders not included in discussions over the last 3 week about next steps? 

 

 There are many steps that Friends of the Reservoirs and other stakeholder organizations will continue to take to protect Portland's open reservoirs and thereby our drinking water including working with the City of Rochester and NYC, participating further in the EPA LT2 rule revision process. We need your help, right now.  We need you to help orchestrate a massive and persistent letter writing campaign to Oregon's Congressional delegation, Senator Jeff Merkley and Representative Blumenauer.  Time is of the essence. 

Division street shutoff work and/ or in-park work to disconnect the Mt. Tabor reservoirs likely will be underway, next year. 

 

 

Write to Senator Jeff Merkley, Representative Blumenauer NOW.  Ask Everyone You Know to Write to the Congressional Delegation -  Post to Your Facebook Page and Send an E-mail to 100 of Your Friends Asking Them to Write. 

Don't let up on City Council either as the delegation looks to them for guidance as to what action they should or should not take in service of the community.

 

Tell the delegation that you are requesting their urgent assistance to protect the functionality of Portland's open reservoirs and ratepayer's pocketbooks. Ask them to prepare legislation that will grandfather in Portland's open reservoirs and our Bull Run source water as compliant with the LT2 regulation. Ask them to represent the interests of the community.  Thank Earl Blumenauer for his letter to OHA.

Statistically significant sampling at both the outlets of Portland's open reservoirs and our Bull Run source water as well as significant disease surveillance data and 115 years of history of safe operation of Portland's open reservoirs support retaining Portland's open reservoirs. Over 20 public health, environmental, business, social justice, and neighborhood organizations support preserving the functionality of Portland's open reservoirs.

 

 ACT NOW

 

Talking points:

  1. Portland's reservoirs have proven safe for over 115 years.  There have never been any public health problems associated with Portland's open reservoirs, never, and there will be no measurable public health benefit associated with these costly burial projects. Portland demonstrated through statistically significant sampling of 7000 liters (zero detects) at the open reservoirs that Portland's drinking water already meets the goal of the LT2 rule which is to reduce the level of disease in the community from Cryptosporidium, Giardia and viruses. The American Water Works Association Research Foundation 3021 study that sampled at the outlet of Portland's open reservoirs was published in 2010 . Portland participated in the study in 2008 and 2009. The researchers concluded that all 19 participating utilities already meet the goal of the rule. NOTE: Bacteria is not an LT2 issue nor is a bacteria detect a regulatory or other basis to cover open reservoirs. Bacteria is detected throughout  distribution systems, with E--coli detected in the Sellwood area in 2012. Corrective action such as identifying the source of the bacteria and addressing basic maintenance are the solutions. Bacteria is treated with chlorine. Chlorination facilities are located in both parks at the reservoir sites. The chlorination facilities are presently used only to "boost" chlorine residuals when necessary, but could provide additional bacteria treatment if it were ever necessary. Bird wires could be installed. The Water Bureau has either been malfeasance in not installing bird wires or believe that birds do not pose a risk to public health . Rochester has installed bird wires as has NYC.
  2. The onerous EPA LT2 rule is under review and likely will be revised by 2016. Thanks to New York City's Mayor Bloomberg and Senator Schumer and the rest of the NY delegation EPA agreed in 2011 to review, revise or repeal the onerous regulation as directed by Obama's Executive Order. Portland is equally deserving of an opportunity to benefit from rule revision. It is likely that the review will provide alternative compliance options that would save ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars and preserve the benefits of Portland's open reservoirs.
  3. The Portland Water Bureau recently spent $40 million on open reservoir upgrades, closing out a $23 million Slayden Corporation open reservoir upgrade construction contract in 2011. Ratepayers will be paying for these debt-financed upgrades until at least 2030. A consulting firm, Montgomery Watson Harza Global, was hired by the Water Bureau and studied the open reservoirs under a 9-year contract.  One of their tasks was to list projects (see pp. C1-5 in this link) that would maintain the safe function of reservoirs until 2050.  The majority of these projects were completed under four contracts in recent years and thus ratepayers should be afforded opportunity to reap the benefits of  these costly upgrades.  
  4. Ratepayers cannot afford any further rate increases.  Water rates have risen 140% in recent years, making  Portland's water bills, the  8th  highest in the nation according to American Water Intelligence annual national survey of 50 largest cities,  higher than those in Phoenix, AZ, a city in the desert. The City of Rochester will not spend one thin dime toward  "treating or covering" their two historic (1876 vintage) open reservoirs set in City parks, until at least 2022, well after rule revision. And Rochester did not just invest $40 million in open reservoir upgrades as is the case in Portland nor have they collected 7000 liters statistically supporting that they already meet the goal of the rule.  Portland deserves the same opportunity as NYC and Rochester to avoid further rate increases for unnecessary reservoir projects (NYC now has a deferral until 2034).
  5. Water quality will be degraded if Portland's open reservoirs are buried or otherwise eliminated. Radon is a big problem in Portland as was recently reported by Scott Learn of the Oregonian. Radon levels are high in the Columbia South Shore Well Field (CSSWF), Portland's lower-quality backup supply. If the open reservoirs are eliminated Radon from the CSSWF will vent into homes, schools and businesses every time you use water to shower, drink, wash clothes, or any purpose when the Well Field is used to supply water. (Note: Test your home now for Radon levels and watch the level rise if the open reservoirs are eliminated) Disinfection by-products could also become a problem. And we will lose the benefits of natural sunlight which prevents a common problem in covered storage, nitrification. The single study in the rule on open reservoirs conducted in New Jersey (non-engineered open reservoirs) did not recommend covering reservoirs rather concluded by referring to problems with covered storage, "water degradation", "nitrification", and "problems with the covers themselves" (Protozoa in Open Reservoirs Mark LeChevalier, William Norton, and Thomas Atherholt, 1997, AWWA Journal volume 89, issue 9, Protozoa in Open Reservoirs)
  6.  Securing relief from LT2 and retaining the functionality of Portland's open reservoirs has been consistently supported by a long list of organizations including, Physicians for Social Responsibility, The Portland Water Users Coalition, the Portland Business Alliance (served on 2004 Reservoir Panel), The Southeast Uplift Coalition of 20 neighborhood associations, the Alliance for Democracy, Food and Water Watch, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, the Portland Audubon Society, the Arlington Heights N.A., the Mt. Tabor N.A., the South Tabor N.A., the Eastside Democratic Club.  The list goes on and on.

 

The degradation of Portland's drinking water and our grand Bull Run system resulting from reservoir burial will not be the last of the degrading projects pursued by the PWB . Despite what Mayor Hales says about maintaining the Bull Run source water "variance" that avoids building an additional, unnecessary Bull Run treatment plant, the PWB has a different vision for our system as revealed by many documents secured through public record requests.  Without any public involvement, the PWB recently crafted a Bull Run Watershed Master Plan of projects and moved quickly backroom in December 2011 to secure approval of a 10-year land-use permit for these projects. This Master Plan includes construction of multiple buildings in the watershed including a UV Radiation treatment plant that would risk mercury contamination of our drinking water and the watershed. These projects involve logging  to build LEED- certified buildings. As we saw when we successfully fought the Water Bureau's chemical filtration plant plan in 2009, the PWB is determined to force a Bull Run filtration plant which would introduce a long list of new, unnecessary and potentially harmful chemicals to Portland's drinking water while providing no public health benefit. Current Water Bureau financial plans as noted in water revenue bond documents reveal the intent to accumulate  $900 million of debt  within just a few  years. This debt burden falls on you, the ratepayer.

The full burden of paying for the Kelly Butte tank, and other Tabor abandonment projects, as well as the Washington Park reservoir demolition will fall on Portland ratepayers alone, hundreds of millions of dollars. Wholesale customers will NOT be charged for these projects.

 

Write:

 

Senator Jeff Merkley, 

Washington D.C. Office 313 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C., 20510

Senator Jeff Merkley http://www.merkley.senate.gov/contact/

Representative Earl Blumenauer, 

Washington D.C. • 1111 Longworth House Office Building • Washington, DC 20515 • Phone: (202) 225-4811

District Office • 729 N.E. Oregon Street • Suite 115 • Portland, OR 97232 • Phone: (503) 231-2300 

Staff contact,Hillary Barbour, hillary.barbour@mail.house.gov


 

 

MORE ON CITY COUNCIL DECISION TO BURY THE RESERVOIRS

 

Mayor Hales, Nick Fish,  Dan Saltzman, and Steve Novick signed a statement (attached) on Monday June 3, 2013 stating in essence that the City would no longer be fighting the EPA on open reservoir projects. The statement also said that the City has been fighting the LT2 rule since its inception. The truth is that Portland Water Bureau (PWB) has been working in support of the onerous regulation since it was first conceived, seeing it as the only sure way to force controversial, unnecessary engineering projects. The PWB was the ONLY utility in the entire nation that was seated at the official EPA LT2 negotiation table (led by EPA's engineer Stig Regli) crafting the flawed, so-called "public health" LT2 "one-size-fits" all regulation. While Portland's involvement was kept hidden from the public, City Council (including Saltzman) approved the consultant contract (31056) that sent a revolving-door consultant, former PWB manager Joe Glicker then with the engineering firm MWH global to D.C. to assist in the rule development.  Glicker is now a CEO with CH2MHill and has been continuously on retainer with the Water Bureau as a consultant since 1994. Both engineering firms have received contract (most if not all brought as "emergencies" though no emergency existed) resulting from the promulgation of the negotiated LT2 rule.

 

In 2009 in defiance of a 2004 reservoir panel-related City Council ordinance, the Portland Water Bureau under Randy Leonard's reign, brought a fast-track reservoir burial plan to Council that was to be immediately submitted to the EPA/OHA- without any public involvement or any meaningful Council input. Contrary to Hales statement, the rule does not require that open reservoirs not be used to store drinking water,  the onerous rule requires that open reservoirs be "treated or covered" - to address non-existent contaminants. The community never had opportunity to sit at the table to discuss a compliance plan, though that was the intent of the 2004 ordinance. The draft LT2 rule included a "mitigation" option that was inexplicably eliminated as NYC described it, removed from the final rule.The Portland's Water Bureau's fast-track burial plan is in stark contrast to New York's consistent efforts to fight the "onerous" regulation and in stark contrast to the efforts of the City of Rochester, a city that similarly has two historic older (1876) open reservoirs also set in City parks.  

Since 2009 the City has taken only weak perfunctory first steps to "fight" the reservoir requirement all the while putting their real effort and energy into awarding cozy consultant contracts and moving ahead with constructing unneeded additional storage tanks even as water demand has dramatically declined and news of the rule revision made headlines. These weak steps allowed Council members to say, "we tried" all the while thwarting public interest and raising water rates.

 

NYC and Rochester's professional water departments and city officials have demonstrated from the start that they were sincere in their quest for reservoir relief. They didn't fast-track burial projects from the get go, let alone do so in defiance of City Council ordinances, they didn't hire consultants let alone cozy consultants, they didn't begin construction of massively costly tanks.  In 2008 NYC's water department scientists put together 167 pages in support of avoiding unnecessary reservoir projects. NYC persistently and persuasively fought for options supportive of the science that says there will be no measurable public health benefit. Pages 8-10 of NYC's March 2011 official comments to EPA make the very arguments the City of Portland failed to make when they had the same opportunity to comment to the EPA.  And thanks to Senator Schumer and NYC's Mayor Bloomberg, EPA did agree to include review, revision, or repeal of the LT2 rule as part Obama's executive order to revise onerous regulations. NYC and Rochester listened to their communities and they sincerely worked to achieve relief. Rochester has changed their compliance plans multiple times responsive to their constituent's interest in retaining the functionality of their open reservoirs. Rochester will not move forward to "treat or cover" their two historic open reservoirs until at least 2022 and will likely avoid altogether "treating" (their plan is to at low cost treat the open reservoirs, they will not eliminate or demolish them) their open reservoirs- once the rule is revised. Rule revision is scheduled to be complete by 2016. Given the intent of Senator Schumer in calling for the revision (retain NYC's open reservoir) one can assume that less onerous options will be made available particularly in light of the total absence of science behind the reservoir requirement. All public health problems documented by EPA have occurred in COVERED storage, never open reservoirs.

 

  Two consecutive Portland Mayors including Hales have failed to step up to the plate and advocate for their constituents, for Portland's open reservoirs.  Giving lip service is not the same as going to bat. Writing a letter whether it be to OHA or the Congressional delegation is step one, then you proceed to the true advocacy. You direct the Water Bureau to prepare documents on par with those of utilities like NYC and Rochester. You go to the Governor or your Congressional delegation and let them know this is important to your constituents. Other communities provided the road map to success, proving that where there is a will there is a way.  It is not enough to take an action just so you can say, " We tried".

 

2014 ELECTION

 

Keep in mind that two of Portland's City Commissioners will be up for re-election in 2014, Nick Fish and Dan Saltzman .  

 

 Hales appointed Nick Fish as the new Water Bureau and BES Commissioner.  Historically, Nick Fish has never seen a reservoir burial contract that he didn't like or a rate increase that he didn't like. Nick Fish wasn't interested enough in the Water Bureau (or BES) to bother attending the rate hearing in May 2013.  We don't expect Nick to address the many serious problems with the operation of the Water Bureau Bureau such as the crony management, cozy consultants, expansionism, over staffing, or carefully monitoring  funds to see that they are not raided by other Bureaus etc.  Nick Fish partnered with Randy Leonard in orchestrating the misappropriation of ratepayer dollars related to trading the Park Bureau owned Rose Festival Building for Mt. Tabor water bureau property saying that the trade would be a great deal for ratepayers. That deal harmed ratepayers to the tune of $1.6 million when water ratepayer money was illegally spent to remodel of the Rose Festival building.  Last year in the face of a lawsuit the City Council returned the money to the Water Bureau, but this City Council decided not to return the money to ratepayers who suffered from the ill-conceived plan.

 

RECENT NEWS ARTICLES 

Willamette Week,http://www.wweek.com/portland/blog-30207-city_will_cover_its_reservoirs_and_drain_the_ones_on_mount_tabor.html

 

 

Tribune, http://portlandtribune.com/pt/9-news/154037-reservoir-plan-ignites-new-pud-fight

 

 

May 2013

View the Chart of Consultant Contracts .PDF

December 12, 2012

Friends of Reservoirs and Portland Citizen Stakeholders Nov. 19 letter to the Oregon Health Authority:

November 19, 2012

Oregon Health Authority
800 N.E. Oregon Street, suite 930 Salem, OR 97232
Sent via e-mail

Dear Ms.Shibley and Mr. Leland,

This letter addresses the Oregon Health Authority's May 17, 2012 denial of the City of Portland's request to defer projects related to the EPA LT2 "treat or cover" requirement for uncovered reservoirs. In denying Portland's request to change the compliance timeline, OHA states as justification, "the water supplier must be able to demonstrate continuing, steady progress toward compliance..." barring construction delays.

Recently we uncovered information that the City of Rochester requested and secured a 10-year reprieve from the EPA LT2 reservoir "treat or cover” requirement for their two historic open reservoirs set in city parks. The reasons outlined in their request letter are 1) financial hardship, 2) limited resources and 3) LT2 rule revision. Rochester worked with state and local public health officials and the EPA to quickly secure approval. Rochester's case makes clear that utilities are not required to "demonstrate continuing progress toward compliance" barring construction delays, and that having any timeline in place is in itself compliance, and that economic hardship and rule revision are valid reasons for deferral. Rochester has three open reservoirs, two of which are historic open reservoirs set in city parks. While Rochester is installing a synthetic cover on the one open reservoir more removed from town, that city has approval for a 10-year deferral on all work (including planning and design) on their two historic open reservoirs set in parks until 2024.

The Mayor of Rochester wrote to EPA’s Lisa Jackson in September 2011 stating “At a time of severely constrained budgets and people rightly demanding that public funds be judiciously spent, this regulation imposes expenditures that are too onerous and benefits that are, at best, difficult to measure." City officials followed in December with a letter to their public health officials. You will find details of their request arguments in the attached December 20, 2011 letter.

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There are three reasons at the base of Rochester's approved 10-year deferral. These reasons apply equally to Portland.

1) Financial hardship

Rochester argued that their water demand has declined and water rates have risen. Water demand in Portland has declined for 26 years with steeper declines since 2008 when Portland water rates rose dramatically. Rochester states that their water rates have risen 44% since 2000. Portland water rates have risen 61% just since 2008. The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) is projecting next year's rate increase at 14.8% in large part to address the $130 million Powell Butte LT2 project and the $80 million Kelly Butte LT2 project. It is worth noting that Portland’s LT2 project costs are roughly 10 times greater than Rochester’s LT2 project costs, that Portland is in an even weaker financial position than Rochester and that Portland faces an even greater economic challenge funding these projects on the current, compressed timeline.

2) Economic resources limited

In their letters, Rochester rightly argued that "limited financial resources are better spent on making improvements to the transmission and distribution system that would reduce the number of main breaks and the associated interruption of service." The same can be said for Portland.

Rochester sought the 10-year delay so that they could pay off bond debt. Rochester argued that they have a high debt load, stating that their debt includes $15 million for LT2. Portland has a higher debt load, with the Portland Water Bureau debt alone recently surpassing the total debt for all bureaus in the City of Rochester. Portland’s Annual Debt Report 2010-11 states that 75% of the $244 million in new debt taken on by Portland that one year was for water and sewer infrastructure; this is the state of financial affairs before PWB faces the bulk of LT2 funding (total PWB debt was at $394,780,000 by 2010/11). In 2012, the PWB issued another 25-year $76.5 million bond. According to a June 2012 City of Portland Auditor report, PWB debt service has increased 52% from fiscal years 2007 through 2011.

In his letter, the Mayor of Rochester contends, “people rightly demand public funds be judiciously spent.“ Remember that recently (August 2011) the Portland Water Bureau closed out a $23 million contract which completed upgrades to open reservoirs. According to a nine-year consultant study, these upgrades will keep the reservoirs safely operating until 2050.

For comparison, this is about what Rochester’s entire LT2 plan will cost. Is it judicious to first pay to upgrade the reservoirs only to then pay to replace them?

2

3) Rule revision

Rochester argued that the rule revision was prompted in order to "reevaluate the effectiveness of the regulation in light of new data that brings into question the assumptions upon which the LT2 rule was promulgated." Rochester's Mayor requested that "written approval be given to the City of Rochester to suspend its compliance schedule until a final determination is made regarding the rule" arguing that this is to "ensure that scarce public funds are expended in the most productive manner possible for protecting public health."

At the time of their deferral approval, Rochester did not possess extensive disease surveillance data nor had they sampled their open reservoirs for Cryptosporidium. In Portland, extensive disease surveillance data clearly demonstrates that there are no public health issues associated with Portland's drinking water. As OHA is aware, the PWB participated in the American Water Works Association Research Foundation Cryptosporidium Study #3021 sampling 7,000 liters of water at the outlets of Portland's open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Parks. According to the published study, Portland and all participating utilities already meet the goal of the LT2 rule. As part of their approved deferral, Rochester collects 50 liters of water to sample for Cryptosporidium at reservoir outlets twice per month. (See attached material.)

Rochester documented the mitigation strategies in place at their open reservoirs. Portland employs similar open reservoir mitigation strategies including isolation valves, new security equipment including cameras, sensor equipment on perimeter fencing, security guards, on-site chlorination facilities, twice per year cleaning, to name a few.

Portland's drinking water is very, very safe. There have never been any public health problems associated with Portland's open reservoirs. The EPA has documented public health problems, deaths and illnesses only with covered storage facilities, while open reservoirs have safely provided drinking water to tens of millions across the nation for over 100 years.

OHA is aware of Portland's May 27, 2012, buried tank contamination event. Among the items vandals tossed into the breached buried tank was an unopened bottle of hydrochloric acid. All source water Cryptosporidium outbreaks have occurred in systems whose watersheds are not protected such that they are required to install a costly chemical filtration plant.

In light of new information that confirms that EPA is not requiring continued,

3

steady project progress, what further action or information is required by the OHA to secure approval of a 10 or even 25-year delay so that Portland is able to pay off its water bonds, limit further rate increases, and benefit from the LT2 rule revision process?

We look forward to an expeditious response to this letter so that Portland ratepayers can be spared the burden of the imminent $80 million Kelly Butte LT2 project. Citizens of Portland are committed to retaining Portland's open reservoirs as an integral part of our grand Bull Run system and will continue to work diligently in support of sound science as the LT2 rule revision process proceeds.

Sincerely,

Floy Jones for Friends of the Reservoirs
Stephanie Stewart for Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association Jeff Boly for Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association Gary Berger for Hillside Neighborhood Association
Anne Dufay for SE Uplift Neighborhood Coalition:

North Tabor Neighborhood Association Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association Montavilla Neighborhood Association Sunnyside Neighborhood Association Buckman Neighborhood Association
Hosford Abernathy Neighborhood Association Richmond Neighborhood Association

South Tabor Neighborhood Association
Foster Powell Neighborhood Association
Creston - Kenilworth Neighborhood Association Brooklyn Neighborhood Association
Reed Neighborhood Association
Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association Sellwood Moreland Neighborhood Association Woodstock Neighborhood Association
Mount Scott Arleta Neighborhood Association Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association Ardenwald - Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association

4

Kerns Neighborhood Association Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association

Juliana Lukasik for Central Eastside Industrial Council

Kent Craford for Portland Water Users Coalition Members:

ALSCO, American Linen Division American Property Management Ashland Hercules Water Technologies The Benson Hotel

BOMA Portland
Darigold
Harsch Investment
The Hilton Portland and Executive Tower Mt. Hood Solutions

New System Laundry Portland Bottling
SAPA Inc.
Siltronic Corp.
Sunshine Dairy Foods Vigor Industrial
Widmer Brothers Brewing YoCream

Regna Merritt for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility Ron Carley for Coalition for a Livable Future
Sean Stevens for Oregon Wild
Maxine Wilkins and Michael Meo for Eastside Democratic Club David Delk for Alliance for Democracy

Representative Alissa Keny-Guyer Eileen Brady

 

December 4, 2012

In recent weeks Friends of the Reservoirs uncovered information that the City of Rochester, New York, requested and secured a 10-year reservoir reprieve (until 2024) from the EPA LT2 "treat or cover” requirement for their two historic (1876) open reservoirs set in city parks. The reasons outlined in their request letter are 1) financial hardship, 2) limited resources and 3) LT2 rule revision. Their deferral reasons are even more applicable in Portland where the Portland Water Bureau reservoir projects are ten times as costly, PWB debt load infinitely higher, and Portland water bills the highest in the nation. Stakeholders ask why Portland Water Bureau Director David Shaff withheld the Rochester deferral information from the Portland City Council.

RochesterDec.20 2011 corresp.pdf

Just look at the photographs in the .pdf below, Rochester's reservoirs are so very much like ours! Where is Portland's 10-year reprieve?

RochesterLT2 Bilateral Compliance Agreement EXTENSION-3.pdf

On Sunday, October 28th a demonstration was held at Mt. Tabor's Lower Reservoir - SE 60th & Hawthorne - to demand a halt to plans by the city council for destroying or otherwise decommissioning the Mt Tabor and Washington Park Reservoirs, and effectively destroying the uniqueness of these parks.

October 16, 2012
SPREAD THE WORD - SAVE THE RESERVOIRS, LAST CALL!
 
Rain or shine, it's time to circle the reservoirs AGAIN! To show YOUR support for retaining Portland's beloved historic open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor (and Washington) Parks.  Time is of the essence!
On Sunday, October 28th a demonstration will be held at Mt. Tabor's Lower Reservoir - SE 60th & Hawthorne - to demand a halt to plans by the city council for destroying or otherwise decommissioning the Mt Tabor and Washington Park Reservoirs, and effectively destroying the uniqueness of these parks.

HANDS AROUND THE RESERVOIRS
Sunday, October 28th, 2012
3p.m. - 4 p.m.
Reservoir #6 - Mt Tabor Park (right above S.E. 60th)

Come and join The Friends of the Reservoirs and protest City plans to spend nearly half a billion dollars to replace the open storage reservoirs at Mt Tabor and Washington Parks with buried storage or relocated enclosed storage.

Take your place around one of Portland's oldest historic landmarks, clasp your neighbor's hands, and for one hour let the City Council and Water Bureau know they must make an effort to preserve them and their functionality.

Safe, secure and affordable drinking water is possible for all the citizens of Portland - without this project.

New York City and Rochester, New York have shown us that “where there is a will there is a way.” Portland can preserve our grand open reservoir system. These reservoirs have reliably served us wonderful, healthy Bull Run drinking water for over 115 years.

They were recently upgraded at a cost of $40 million - yet most on City Council are now prepared to destroy their functionality.

.PDF flyer about the October 28, 2012 Rally

.PDF  Portland Water Users Coalition and
Friends of the Reservoirs
JOINT MAYORAL CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE
 
August 27, 2012

The Water Bureau has changed the date twice that they are bringing their reservoir burial report to Council to Wednesday, to September 5, 2012. We won't know the time until the Friday before.

 

SAVE THE DATE- THE FUTURE OF MT. TABOR OPEN RESERVOIRS IS AT STAKE

D-Day for the Mt. Tabor Open Reservoirs

September 5, 2012- YOUR ATTENDANCE AND YOUR VOICE ARE NEEDED

Talking points, and more information can be found below the August 27 2012 Letter, a short scroll down.

 NEW RESERVOIR D-DATE- SEPTEMBER 5, 2012- TIME of day STILL UNKNOWN -Mark your calenders but stay tuned for further updates.

ACTION THIS WEEK:  Call, email City Council members in support of new "cover" compliance plan that protects the open reservoirs and supports Portland's ability to benefit from rule revision and Congressional action that would help Portland, Bend and possibly Baker City.

Email and call Commissioner Saltzman, Fish, and Mayor Adams offices this week. E-mails sent to Commissioner's general e-mail boxes are not seen by Council members (except in Amanda's case who reads all e-mails). Amanda Fritz is the only City Council member that directly responds to such a large number of communications from constituents.

Contacts:
Matt Grumm in Commissioner Saltzman’s office
matt.grumm@portlandoregon.gov  503-823-4151
 
Emily York in Commissioner Nick Fish’s office
emily.york@portlandoregon.gov 503-823-3594 or
Hannah Kuhn
hannah.kuhn@portlandoregon.gov
 
Catherine Ciarlo in Mayor Adams office
catherine.ciarlo@portlandoregon.gov  503-823-4120

NEW STAKEHOLDER'S LETTER -----  Updated  August 27, 2012 (new signatories)

Mayor Adams and Commissioners
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, OR 97204

Dear Mayor Adams and Commissioners,

We support a change to the City's LT2 compliance strategy for open reservoirs. We support the City submitting to the Oregon Health Authority a new reservoir compliance strategy which involves Hypalon-like covers at Reservoirs 1 and 5 (Mt. Tabor) and Reservoirs 3 and 4 (Washington Park).
We support this Hypalon-like, cover compliance strategy because it protects the recent $40 million ratepayer investment in open reservoir upgrades and would provide the greatest opportunity for Portland to benefit from the LT2 rule revision process currently underway. This is the only option that preserves the functionality of our historic open reservoirs. This option also provides the best opportunity for the Mayor and Commissioners to actively engage in discussions with our federal representatives to secure permanent relief from onerous LT2 requirements for Portland's open reservoirs and our Bull Run source water.a??a??This new Hypalon-like cover compliance strategy will save ratepayers upwards of $138 million in the near term and much more in the long term when debt service is considered.
Please connect community will to LT2 compliance strategies.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Stewart for                       Jeff Boly for
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association        Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association


Further Supported By:

Floy Jones
Friends of the Reservoirs

Peter Stark and Barbara Schwartz
Members, Hillside Neighborhood Association Board

Regna Merritt
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Kent Craford for Portland Water Users Coalition Members:
   ALSCO, American Linen Division
   American Property Management
   Ashland Hercules Water Technologies
   The Benson Hotel
   BOMA Portland
   Darigold
   Harsch Investment
   The Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
   Mt. Hood Solutions
   New System Laundry
   Portland Bottling
   SAPA Inc.
   Siltronic Corp.
   Sunshine Dairy Foods
   Vigor Industrial
   Widmer Brothers Brewing
   YoCream

Juliana Lukasik for Central Eastside Industrial Council
Portland Business Alliance
Bob Sallinger for Audubon Society of Portland
Sean Stevens for Oregon Wild
Olivia Schmidt for BARK
Maxine Wilkins and Michael Meo for Eastside Democratic Club
David Delk for Alliance for Democracy
Julie DeGraw for Food & Water Watch
Ron Carley for Coalition for a Livable Future
Anne Dufay for SE Uplift Neighborhood Coalition:
  North Tabor Neighborhood Association
  Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association
  Montavilla Neighborhood Association
  Sunnyside Neighborhood Association
  Buckman Neighborhood Association
  Hosford Abernathy Neighborhood Association
  Richmond Neighborhood Association
  South Tabor Neighborhood Association
  Foster Powell Neighborhood Association
  Creston - Kenilworth Neighborhood Association
  Brooklyn Neighborhood Association
  Reed Neighborhood Association
  Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association
  Sellwood Moreland Neighborhood Association
  Woodstock Neighborhood Association
  Mount Scott Arleta Neighborhood Association
  Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association
  Ardenwald - Johnson Creek Neighborhood
  Association
  Kerns Neighborhood Association
  Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association

Andy Maggi for                    Scott Fernandez for
Oregon League of Conservation Voters         Citizens for Portland's Water
 
Franklin Gearhart for                     Nancy Newell for
Citizens Interested in Bull Run, Inc.        Oregon Green Energy Coalition

END August 27, 2012 Letter 


Talking points that support change of LT2 reservoir compliance strategy to hypalon-like covers:
Provides the greatest opportunity for Portland to benefit from the LT2 rule revision process currently underway
Protects the recent $40 million ratepayer investment in open reservoir upgrades
Preserves the functionality of our historic open reservoirs.
Saves ratepayers upwards of $138 million in the near term and much more in the long term when debt service is considered.
Avoids in park work at Mt. Tabor to disconnect the open reservoirs
Avoids awarding a Washington park demolition/reservoir design contract to cozy consultants CH2MHill or MWH global
Avoids demolition of the historic Washington park reservoirs
Retains larger storage capacity than would exist with reservoir burial ( PB II, Kelly Butte, Washington Park) - of interest to Mayor Adams
( Note : too much in town storage creates water quality problems, water cannot be stored for any length of time as it goes stale. Portland has more in town storage than is needed. Once Powell Butte II is built there will be an additional excess of 50 million gallons of in town storage)


Randy Leonard wants City Council to commit to the demise of the Mt. Tabor reservoirs by proceeding with the wasteful $90 million Kelly Butte project on top of the$137 million Powell Butte II project already underway. Their plan is to demolish the Kelly Butte tank and construct a new 25 million gallon tank to replace it, the second step in the plan to eliminate the recently upgraded Mt. Tabor open reservoir storage. This plan results in a overall reduction of storage capacity, at a price tag of $230 million. At the July "worksession" or more accurately Randy's stonewall session the Portland Water Bureau reported that they have fenced off the Kelly Butte tank, but due to contract negotiations haven't yet begun demolition. Shaff also said that the underway renovation of Mt.Tabor's Reservoir #1 gatehouse must first be complete and Reservoir # 1 back online (September) before they can begin demolition of Kelly Butte.


NEW COMPLIANCE PLAN- SAVE $138 MILLION, SAVE THE OPEN RESERVOIRS

Commissioner Amanda Fritz supports a less costly EPA-approved LT2 reservoir compliance strategy, one that would preserve the functionality of the open reservoirs and in our estimation provide the best opportunity for Congressional relief and the best opportunity for Portland to benefit from the revision of the poorly-crafted EPA LT2 regulation, scheduled for 2016.

While we have long argued as has NYC that ALL of the current reservoir compliance options are onerous (the very reason why NYC's water department and Senator Schumer pushed for rule revision), amongst the bad options is a lower cost compliance strategy to that of the PWB's fast-tracked $400 million burial plan. Mt. Tabor, Arlington Heights (Washington park) and Friends of the Reservoirs have initiated a letter to Commissioner Fritz supporting the new reservoir compliance strategy - hypalon-like covers at Tabor Res. 1 and 5 and Washington park Res. 3 and 4 by 2020.
We expect that the full coalition of public health, environmental, business and equity organizations will sign on to the support letter which we will send to the full City Council (and this distribution list) before August 29th. We believe this strategy avoids awarding yet another consultant contract to CH2MHill or MWH global (design of the demolition of the historic Washington park reservoirs and design of an onsite underground tank), avoids the demolition of the Washington park reservoirs, and avoids the demise of the functionality of the Mt. Tabor reservoirs. Most importantly we believe that this strategy provides the best opportunity for Congressional intervention and for Portland to benefit from the LT2 rule revision to be comlete by March 2016.

THE FUTURE OF THE MT. TABOR RESERVOIRS IS AT STAKE PLEASE CALL, WRITE AND SHOW UP AT CITY HALL.  It is important to contact members of City Council, Dan Saltzman (Staff, Matt Grumm), Nick Fish (Staff, Emily York) and Sam Adams (Staff, Catherine Ciarlo) and tell them you support the new compliance plan brought forth by Amanda Fritz, the neighborhood associations and Friends of the Reservoirs. It all comes down to 3 votes.

WHAT: Water Bureau report on LT2 plans to eliminate the open reservoirs
WHEN: SEPTEMBER 5, 2012 (Likely in the a.m., but we won't know for sure until the Friday before given the unwillingness of the WB to cooperate with the community)
WHERE: PORTLAND CITY HALL, S.W. 4TH AND MAIN


While there are many problems with this new compliance strategy as with all of the currently available compliance strategies there are reasons to support a new LT2 reservoir cover compliance strategy:
Provides the best opportunity for the Mayor and Commissioners to actively engage in discussions with our federal representatives to secure permanent relief from onerous LT2 requirements for Portland's open reservoirs and our Bull Run source water (emphasize relief in your comments and testimony)- There will be a new City Council in 2013- make sure you vote only for candidates that support permanent relief from LT2 requirements: preserving our historic open reservoirs and avoiding ANY additional Bull Run treatment.



____________________

july 31, 2012

News from New Jersey:

Passaic freeholders, state seek delay on capping reservoirs
http://www.northjersey.com/news/environment/062112_Passaic_freeholders_state_seek_delay_on_capping_reservoirs.html
Excerpts:
"LT2 has been widely criticized by states as a costly solution to an almost non-existent problem."
"Passaic County Freeholder Theodore Best said it makes no sense for the water commission to proceed with a costly reservoir project given that the federal mandate might one day be modified or even lifted.

 

News from Bend, Oregon

Oregon Congressman Greg Walden taking Congressional action in support of another unfiltered system, Bend. House panel to EPA: Go easy on Bend water rules
KTVZ
"Forcing the city to raise water rates in a time of double-digit unemployment ... flexibility granted to New York City and Portland," the congressman said. Our full Congressional delegation can and should unite in support of alternatives to the reservoir requirement. Both parts of the extremely flawed rule are under revision.

http://www.ktvz.com/news/House-panel-to-EPA-Go-easy-on-Bend-water-rules/-/413192/15376674/-/6no7t2z/-/index.html

 

July 30, 2012

Stakeholder's Comments prior to the July 24 Council Work Session:

"Please do not miss this rare and critical opportunity for city, state and national
leaders to work together and solve a problem that has the potential to negatively
impact nearly one million Oregonians."

July 23, 2012
Dear Mayor Adams and Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Saltzman and Leonard,
As you enter the Work Session on Portland Reservoirs this Tuesday, please take
our comments into consideration.
The City of Portland's top federal priority this year is to secure relief from the
raw water treatment and storage requirements of the federal Long
Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) for Portland’s
drinking water system. This means that the Mayor and Commissioners should
be actively engaged in discussions with our federal representatives right now.
Federal elected official: President Obama
President Obama has the capacity to deliver administrative relief to the City. He
can direct EPA’s Lisa Jackson to communicate with OHA"s Public Health
Department to allow a time-out on the reservoir construction schedule at least
until review of the LT2 Rule is complete. What is the point of his Executive Order
13563 if Portland is forced to waste $400 million dollars before the review is
complete? We urge you to please ask him.
Federal elected officials: Every member of Oregon's congressional delegation.
They have the capacity to team up and deliver both short-term and long-term
(administrative and legislative) remedies for our water systems. Senator Merkley
is fighting for LT2 relief for residents of Portland and Bend. Congressman
Walden is now fighting for LT2 relief for residents of Bend. (See House panel to
EPA: Go easy on Bend water rules) All of our representatives can sit at the
same table and implement a smart strategy that delivers results. We urge you
to please ask them.
Additionally, we request that you send a second request for extension of
compliance schedule to the Oregon Health Authority. The schedule should be
delayed out of consideration for the continuing recession and to allow for an
independent assessment of alternative compliance options which include
"treatment at the outlet."
Our drinking water is very, very safe. In over one hundred years of operation,
there has never been a waterborne infection from Cryptosporidium, Giardia or
viruses or bacteria attributable to Portland’s uncovered finished water storage
facilities. The EPA should allow a water supplier to protect uncovered finished
water storage facilities against Cryptosporidium, Giardia and viruses through
implementation of a facility-specific risk mitigation plan that identifies and
addresses the specific risks faced by a particular facility. This would encourage
2
investments that achieve cost-effective tangible public health benefits without
unduly burdening water suppliers and ratepayers. Your leadership can both
prevent the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars and help restore trust in
government to make decisions based on science and not on emotion or fear.
Please do not miss this rare and critical opportunity for city, state and national
leaders to work together and solve a problem that has the potential to negatively
impact nearly one million Oregonians.
Thank you for considering our request,
Floy Jones for Friends of Reservoirs
Regna Merritt for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility
Kent Craford for Portland Water Users Coalition Members:
ALSCO, American Linen Division
American Property Management
Ashland Hercules Water Technologies
The Benson Hotel
BOMA Portland
Darigold
Harsch Investment
The Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
Mt. Hood Solutions
New System Laundry
Portland Bottling
SAPA Inc.
Siltronic Corp.
Sunshine Dairy Foods
3
Vigor Industrial
Widmer Brothers Brewing
YoCream
Juliana Lukasik for Central Eastside Industrial Council
Sandra McDonough for Portland Business Alliance
Thomas T. Ward, MD
Bob Salinger for Audubon Society of Portland
Alex P. Brown for BARK
Sean Stevens for Oregon Wild
Julia DeGraw for Food & Water Watch
David E. Delk for Alliance for Democracy
Maxine Wilkins and Micheal Meo for the Eastside Democratic Club
Stephanie Stewart for Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association
Jeffrey Boley for Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association
Anne Dufay for SE Uplift Neighborhood
Coalition for:
North Tabor Neighborhood Association
Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association
Montavilla Neighborhood Association
Sunnyside Neighborhood Association
Buckman Neighborhood Association
Hosford Abernathy Neighborhood Association
Richmond Neighborhood Association
South Tabor Neighborhood Association
Foster Powell Neighborhood Association
Creston - Kenilworth Neighborhood Association
Brooklyn Neighborhood Association
Reed Neighborhood Association
Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association
4
Sellwood Moreland Neighborhood Association
Woodstock Neighborhood Association
Mount Scott Arleta Neighborhood Association
Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association
Ardenwald - Johnson Creek Neighborhood
Association
Kerns Neighborhood Association
Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association

April 20, 2012 

Read the ANSWERS: Portland mayoral candidates positions on WATER ISSUES (Vote by May 15)

Responses below to a recent Water Issues Questionnaire sent out by Portland Water Users Coalition and Friends of the Reservoirs.

Q and A --PDF here: City%20Council%20candidate%20questionnaire%20responses%20FINAL%204-17-12-3.pdf

 

March 26, 2012 

EPA open reservoir meeting to be held in Washington D.C  !

EPA has announced a public meeting on open reservoirs this April 24 in Washington D.C.,
https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/02/29/2012-4825/long-term-2-enhanced-surface-water-treatment-rule-uncovered-finished-water-reservoirs-public-meeting

.

 

Please help Friends of Reservoirs attend this meeting in D.C. ---  Your donations are needed!

Please consider helping Friends of the Reservoirs attend this D.C. meeting to advocate for a modification that allows retaining our open reservoirs (without unnecessary additional "treatment" or burial) by making a financial contribution to the FOR through Southeast Uplift where your contribution is tax deductable.  One of our community partner organizations, the Portland Water Users Coalition has encouraged Friends of the Reservoirs to attend and thus has committed to making a financial contribution toward this effort.

Please send your check to "S.E.U.L." (SouthEast UpLift) 

and include the note: "For F.O.T.R." on the memo line. 

You can mail your check to:
South East Uplift
3534 S.E. Main Street
Portland, OR 97214


Thank you!

March , 2012


LETTER to the OREGON HEALTH AUTHORITY for a Compliance Adjustment 

 


On February 10 The Portland Water Bureau submitted its request to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) for a five-year delay in reservoir projects (excluding the unnecessary $137 million Powell Butte II tank ), albeit a weak request when compared with the comprehensive, substantive, detailed scientific report prepared by New York City.  The community supported a delay until 2034 in line with NYC's request, supporting a science-based and economy-based justification for delay not the costly project-laden request put forward by the PWB, a request designed to keep water bills climbing.

 

 

EPA SUPPORTS PROTECTION OF BAD LT2 RULE OVER SOUND SCIENCE

  The EPA Region 10 office, which includes folks that have a long-standing association with former PWB manager Rosemary Menard and cozy consultant Joe Glicker  two of the architects of the LT2 rule, are pushing for denial of delay in the reservoir projects. 

 

Regarding the source water variance awarded to Bull Run this last week, EPA Region 10 advocated and OHA in their final order supported denial of allowing confirmation or genotyping of any future Crypto "detects".  The variance is good news in that it gives some breathing room perhaps, but it came with very bad conditions that benefits corporations and fat cats at the Water Bureau but not the community.  The State acknowledges that false positives are a problem and that dead or noninfectious Crypto are harmless, but following EPA's direction they ordered that our system shall be degraded ( a treatment plant required) and more ratepayer dollars wasted in order to protect the poorly-crafted (corporate-negotiated) EPA LT2 should Portland "detect" two unconfirmed, ungenotyped "Crypto". The costly tributary scat and water sampling program that the PWB supported and now must follow over the next ten years was initially designed by PWB's Rosemary Menard and Joe Glicker then with MWH global back in 2005. Community stakeholders objected to that plan then as not being based on sound science and it is just as objectionable today.  

 

Meanwhile the PWB is set to undertake a major construction project in the watershed that will put boats and divers in our drinking water, a project initially recommended by the corporations and now running 200% over budget estimate- Dam2 Tower. 

 

 

COALITION SUPPORTS LONGER RESERVOIR DELAY

On March 5 a diverse coalition of public health, environmental, business, social justice, and neighborhood organizations submitted a letter (see attached) to the Oregon Health Authority in support of a longer reservoir project delay such that permanent open reservoir protections can be secured. We received receipt acknowledgement and await OHA's response.

 

Questions or comments please write to me directly at floy21@msn.com



February 2, 2012     Important City Council vote yesterday.   Thanks for our community effort! 

More people realize Portland deserves a full waiver from the flawed LT2 being inappropriately applied to Portland. 

Portland seeks delay to complete all reservoir projects by 2026

By Brad Scmidt, The Oregonian

 

January 30, 2012                Go to this City Council meeting!            Important .pdfs below this letter!

SAVE THE RESERVOIRS - PORTLAND CITY HALL, 1221 SW 4TH AVE., WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2011

The Water Bureau's reservoir resolution (attached) is the last item on City Council agenda this next Wednesday February 1, 2011 , item 115.   Determining an exact time the item will be heard is difficult, but certainly not before 11 a.m and likely later. 


 The reservoir resolution was unilaterally prepared at Commissioner Leonard's direction by the Portland Water Bureau. No substantive changes were made from the information contained in the Water Bureau's construction schedule chart sent out earlier in this week; a mere five-year delay with the focus on starting new construction projects, and continuing reservoir tank design in the interim. Remember it was the unilateral actions by the PWB that got us into this mess in the first place going back to their secret participation in crafting the LT2 rule with the revolving-door profiting consultant by their side, and continuing with their 2009 fast-tracked reservoir burial plan submitted to EPA in defiance of a City Council ordinance requiring meaningful public process in advance of such actions.

  • What about all of the consultant contracts associated with the Kelly Butte tank project,  the Mt. Tabor disconnect and Bull Run UV Radiation treatment plant design? When will they be terminated ? Why continue to waste money designing projects that will provide no measurable public health benefit and while the LT2 rule is under revision, a process EPA says will take until 2016 (and could last longer)? There is no disease in the community related to Bull Run drinking water.


  • Why is Water Bureau's scientific-data document (reservoir) not available for public review and revision right now?  A public records request has been made, but no Bureau response. This document would need to accompany a City's request for a revised reservoir compliance timeline. NYC prepared it's data document in 2008 with additional substantive, detailed information submitted to EPA in 2011. PWB awarded cozy-consultant design contracts while NYC took advantage of every opportunity and made its case for a rule revision and permanent protection for its open reservoir opening the door for all communities.
Attached  find a Consultant Contract Chart that lays out on one page all of the known cozy-consultant contracts related to Bull Run treatment plants and buried tanks. The chart was meant to be printed on 11 by 17 paper, but with the right printer it can be reduced to letter-size paper. 

Ask City Council to terminate all consultant contracts related to Kelly Butte, Tabor design, and UV Radiation design, and outline via a resolution a new LT2 policy of project avoidance. While the Portland Water Bureau recently attended an LT2 not so "public" meeting in Washington D.C. and has had the same opportunities as NYC to avoid projects, there is not any evidence of the PWB submitting substantive, detailed comments to the EPA addressing the grossly flawed EPA Crypto sampling method, or related to reinstatement of a reservoir compliance alternative (site-specific mitigation) to the current equally unacceptable LT2 reservoir "treat or cover" requirement.

Hope to see you Wednesday.

Floy

Reservoir_resolution2012.pdf


Consultant_Contract_ Jan30_LT2.pdf

 

Subject: Action Alert: Reservoir Council agenda item next Wednesday February 1st
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 2012 21:22:44 -0800

Reservoir Supporters,


Action Alert: Attend next Wednesday's City Council session in support of a revised reservoir compliance schedule of 2034! If you are unable to attend then please write or call the City Council members in support of 2034 and spread the message! The community goal of permanent avoidance of the unnecessary EPA LT2 "treat or cover" requirement starts with moving out the compliance date in line with New York City -we have a powerful case for an extension to 2034 -- as or more powerful than New York City's and a new timeline must not be reliant on construction projects as the PWB would lead you to believe.


Yesterday,  a coalition of organizations wrote to Commissioner Leonard (see below) regarding the Water Bureau's plan to submit an unacceptable reservoir compliance schedule (see attached) to the state (OHA) without any public process.  After a couple of e-mail exchanges, Commissioner Leonard agreed to put the item on next Wednesday's Council agenda. 


On Friday afternoon we will know when the item will be on the agenda (morning or afternoon), so stay tuned.  It is important to the overall effort that City Council support a new comprehensive LT2 reservoir policy clearly addressing the disconnect between the Water Bureau actions or inaction (see coalition October 11, 2011 letter) and the public statements that the City is doing everything possible to avoid the unnecessary projects. Find our October 11, 2011 letter to City Council here, 

http://friendsofreservoirs.org/.


Revised Reservoir Compliance Timeline, 2034:


1) EPA has advised utilities that the LT2 rule review/revision process will be complete in 2016 (not in the next two years)- but EPA does not always meet its deadlines as was the case with the promulgation of LT2.
2) While the Water Bureau wants to characterize a new timeline as being dependent on projects, it is not.  NYC focused it's timeline request not just on projects but on a scientific data document, 160 pages. Portland disease surveillance data, source water and reservoir data support that Portland's open reservoirs are protective of public health- a 100 year record of being protective of public health.
3)  $40 million of ratepayer dollars invested in recent years on open reservoir upgrades- $23 million since LT2 rule was finalized 2006.  A nine-year consultant study indicated that completion of these upgrade projects would keep the reservoirs safely operating until 2050- why squander this significant investment 
4) 55% water rate increase since 2008 plus double-digit base rate increases with more increases on the way- economics can be considered
5) Debt load and debt service will continue to have impact on rates for years to come
6) Construction projects Dam2 Tower in watershed,  pump stations, water line replacement, new Interstate or Maintenance Building, etc.  

Keep in mind there is no reservoir compliance deadline in the LT2 rule

 The Water Bureau's revised compliance plan (see attached documents) continues design work on Kelly Butte (2010-2017) as well as Tabor disconnect design work (read Schedule Options column). What about the consultant contracts? Will they be terminated?  It also expands the reservoir construction schedule adding a year to the length of time the Bureau said would be required to complete Kelly Butte construction project, and a year to the Powell Butte construction schedule as well as the Washington Park schedule.

In addition to project avoidance the community seeks rate relief. The Water Bureau's plan avoids rate relief by replacing immediate reservoir construction (and the UV radiation plant) with a Willamette River Crossing construction project .
  Last summer the Hibbits pollster group told PWB and other  regional water providers that the community does not support new water construction projects preferring maintenance of the system over new construction.

Feel free to contact me with questions or concerns.  E-mail me directly at floy21@msn.com

Floy 
503 238-4649



Commissioner Randy Leonard

1221 SW 4th Avenue

Portland, Oregon 97204


January 23, 2012


Dear Commissioner Leonard,


We are writing to request that you move immediately to schedule a City Council hearing before the Portland Water Bureau submits the City’s revised LT2 open reservoir compliance timeline to the Oregon Health Authority. The bureau reports that they plan to submit their revised compliance plan by the end of January. Ratepayers and the Portland City Council deserve a transparent public engagement process such as a City Council hearing to discuss this important issue, rather than allowing the Water Bureau to unilaterally make a decision on this controversial $400 million issue.


As you are aware, the EPA recently indicated to the City of New York and the State of Oregon that extensions to LT2 reservoir timelines are permissible. We are asking you to ensure that Portland’s timeline extension is no less than 2034—that being requested by New York City. We have made this request to the Bureau and its Budget Advisory Committee but have had no response. Unfortunately, new documents (attached) indicate that new compliance dates, selected by the Portland Water Bureau (PWB), push the deadlines out a mere 5 years.


In March 2009, the Portland Water Bureau, while ignoring the 2004 Reservoir Panel (City Council Ordinance # 36237), submitted to the EPA/State of Oregon a fast-tracked reservoir burial compliance plan hours after City Council was given its first opportunity to review and comment on the plan and the timeline. Meaningful public and Council input were impossible. [See March 25, 2009 City Council video, Minute 145:30] Please do not let this happen again.


At that time, the Portland Water Bureau did not give City Council or the public any opportunity to discuss alternatives for complying with the EPA reservoir “treat or cover” requirement. Instead, the bureau forced upon City Council one and only one option--a plan to destroy our open drinking water reservoirs and replace them with buried tanks in a rushed timeline that would cram nearly $400,000,000 in spending into the PWB budget before 2015. This plan was not only unnecessary from a public health protection standpoint, it was economically disastrous. City Council and the public were also not given any opportunity to request and consider an independent analysis of the much lower cost “treatment at the outlet” alternative.


Please schedule a public hearing as soon as possible to allow the community and the Portland City Council to provide meaningful input on this decision that may cost ratepayers nearly a half billion dollars. The City’s request, plan and timeline for LT2 compliance delay must not be submitted absent this critically important process. Let’s work together and not squander this opportunity to get it right.


Please let us know of your decision and plans by January 25, 2012. Thank you.



Sincerely,



Floy Jones for Friends of the Reservoirs


Regna Merritt for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility


Kent Craford for Portland Water Users Coalition


David Lorati for Central Eastside Industrial Council


Scott Shlaes for OregonWild


Ron Carley for Coalition for a Livable Future


Franklin Gearhart for Citizens Interested in Bull Run, Inc.


Stephanie Stewart for Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association - Land Use Committee


Peter Stark for Hillside Neighborhood Association


Jeffrey Boley for Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association


Rod Daggett and Maxine Wilkins for Eastside Democratic Club


David E. Delk for Alliance for Democracy


Alex P. Brown for BARK

Julia DeGraw for Food & Water Watch



In My Opinion        Oregonian          January 4, 2012  by Kent Craford and Floy Jones
An opportunity to buy time: City need not waste $137 million on new reservoir

October 22, 2011  

Dramatic changes in the LT2 playing field, community coalition calls on City Council to take immediate action!

Dear Community Supporters,

 

Yesterday, Friends of the Reservoirs distributed copy of our Congressional Delegation's October 13, 2011 letter to the EPA supportive of alternatives to the burdensome EPA LT2 open reservoir "treat or cover" requirement. 

 

Attached and copied below is a October 11, 2011 coalition letter to City Council.  This coalition letter was updated October 18 with Sierra Club Columbia Chapter's sign on.  Please share with your distribution lists.

 

 

October 11, 2011 (updated October 18, 2011)

 

Dear Mayor Adams and Commissioners Saltzman, Leonard, Fritz and Fish,

 

We are writing to urge your immediate consideration of a new City Council resolution clarifying and

affirming the City of Portland’s policy on seeking avoidance from current federal LT2 mandates affecting

Portland’s Bull Run watershed and open drinking water reservoirs while seeking alternative means of

compliance.

 

As you are aware, there have been dramatic changes in the LT2 playing field in the past several weeks. Yet,

there has been no material change in City policy. The April 2009 LT2 compliance plan approved by the City

Council, which directs the Portland Water Bureau (PWB) to proceed with design, planning and scheduling

of Bull Run treatment and open reservoir replacement, remains the current official City policy, despite all

that has transpired. We call for a new LT2 policy of avoidance, similar to that pursued by the City of New

York, to be clearly and definitively articulated through a new City Council resolution. This is needed now

more than ever.

 

We appreciate the City’s recent letters sent to the State Health Authority and Congressional delegation

appealing for LT2 relief and piggy-backing on New York City’s apparent reprieve. While these letters are a

good start, they do not constitute clear City policy. In the absence of clear policy, the PWB continues its

work of designing an unnecessary treatment plant and scheduling the replacement and ultimate destruction

of our historic and well-functioning open drinking water reservoirs. Consequently, there exists a striking

dissonance between the public statements of the City Council that it is doing everything possible to avoid

LT2 mandates while, at the same time, the bureaucracy charges ahead with plans to forever alter our

drinking water system. You must correct this disconnect, immediately.

 

Congressional Delegation

If we don't have a new resolution clearly articulating a policy of LT2 avoidance, members of the

congressional delegation won't have the mandate they need to fight for that reprieve. They need this

direction from you so as to plan, prioritize and accomplish short and long term work on LT2 relief on

behalf of the City. At least one member of our federal delegation recently stated that he will “go to bat” for

the City on the issue of in-town reservoirs but he needs to know what the Portland City Council wants. He

is still waiting.

 

EPA and the Obama Administration

Up until now, the City's policy has been ambiguous--in the absence of a federal mandate, do we want to

build these unnecessary projects or not? The City’s position is not clear. That ambiguity, in addition to

limiting the effectiveness of congressional advocacy, has allowed the PWB to proceed with design and

construction planning under the pretext of a federal mandate, while avoiding options for relief from that

mandate. As our groups have long contended, the City has those options but has not pursued them. Your

leadership is needed now to change that direction.

 

The Portland Water Bureau has repeatedly missed opportunities to avoid much wasteful spending. For

instance, in March of 2011, it failed to substantively comment on the requested review of the LT2 rule (part

of Obama's Executive Order to review, revise or repeal unduly burdensome rules). In sharp contrast, New

York City has clearly taken the "do everything possible to avoid treatment-or-covering" approach, securing a

delay in the deadline and then submitting substantive comments to EPA on why the LT2 rule is flawed and

inapplicable to New York’s unique situation. The City of Portland has as good or better an argument along

these lines, but has remained nearly silent. Also, the PWB has never prepared a scientific data document

evidencing the public safety of our open reservoirs. New York City did so in 2008.

 

Consider also that the upcoming review and revision of the LT2 rule involves stakeholder meetings. The

Portland Water Bureau was the only utility in the nation that sat at the negotiation table in Washington D.C.

when this flawed rule was first crafted. In 2001, PWB staff, without authority to do so, signed an LT2

Agreement in Principle, which set the stage for forcing an unnecessary Bull Run treatment plant. PWB

signed on to this agreement without bringing it before City Council or to the public.

Will the PWB again be the unfiltered systems stakeholder seated at the table in Washington D.C. during the

upcoming EPA stakeholder meetings? And, if so, what position will the Bureau take?

As we write this, PWB engineers are still preparing Kelly Butte for the bulldozers. Millions of dollars are

being spent on Powell Butte, a $137 million project we do not need. It appears that current official City

policy is to proceed with the projects, albeit with a potential change in timeline. Without an updated

resolution and policy, we are concerned that the PWB will not change course, and the wasteful spending will

continue. We strongly urge you to craft a new resolution and do so as soon as possible.

 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this critical matter,

Sincerely,

 

Regna Merritt and Theodora Tsongas, PhD, MS for Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Kent Craford for Portland Water Users Coalition Members:

ALSCO, American Linen Division

American Property Management

Ashland Hercules Water Technologies

The Benson Hotel

BOMA Portland

Darigold

Harsch Investment

The Hilton Portland and Executive Tower

Mt. Hood Solutions

New System Laundry

Portland Bottling

SAPA Inc.

Siltronic Corp.

Sunshine Dairy Foods

Vigor Industrial

Widmer Brothers Brewing

YoCream

Floy Jones for Friends of the Reservoirs

Sandra McDonough for the Portland Business Alliance

David Lorati for the Central Eastside Industrial Council

Sierra Club, Columbia Group

Scott Shlaes for Oregon Wild

Franklin Gearhart for Citizens Interested in Bull Run

Alex P. Brown for BARK

Ron Carley for Coalition for a Liveable Future

Rod Daggett and Maxine Wilkins for Eastside Democratic Club

David Delk for Alliance for Democracy

Julia DeGraw for Food & Water Watch

Stephanie Stewart for Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Assn - Land Use Committee

Jeffrey Boly for Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association

Peter Stark for Hillside Neighborhood Association

 

Anne Dufay for SE Uplift Neighborhood Coalition for:

North Tabor Neighborhood Association

Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association

Montavilla Neighborhood Association

Sunnyside Neighborhood Association

Buckman Neighborhood Association

Hosford Abernathy Neighborhood Association

Richmond Neighborhood Association

South Tabor Neighborhood Association

Foster Powell Neighborhood Association

Creston - Kenilworth Neighborhood Association

Brooklyn Neighborhood Association

Reed Neighborhood Association

Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association

Sellwood Moreland Neighborhood Association

Woodstock Neighborhood Association

Mount Scott Arleta Neighborhood Association

Brentwood Darlington Neighborhood Association

Ardenwald - Johnson Creek Neighborhood Association

Kerns Neighborhood Association

Laurelhurst Neighborhood Association

 

 



October 16, 2011

Attached find an October 13, 2011 letter from Oregon's Congressional Delegation to the EPA regarding EPA's decision to revise the LT2 rule specifically  the burdensome reservoir "treat or cover" requirement. In a separate e-mail we will send out our October 11 community coalition letter to City Council calling for a new LT2 policy, one that takes into consideration developments responsive to the great efforts of New York City.
LT2 letter to Administrator Jackson 10.13.11-1.pdf
City of Portland and delegation letters must be followed up with an intensive City effort to avoid the unnecessary projects and stop the associated wasteful spending.

This EPA's change of course at this late stage is no surprise given all of the facts. The reservoir requirements have no scientific basis, the costs are burdensome, the public health benefit is non existent, and it has been clear for years that NYC was going to do everything possible in order to retain their open reservoir.  Corporations involved in developing EPA's LT2 rule have already profited from the rule both on source water and reservoirs.  

City's one-paragraph letter to Senator Merkley. 

Senator Merkley 9.12.2011 ltr.pdf

August 31, 2011

Letter to Senator Wyden:

Request to join Senator Chuck Schumer on reform of LT2 reservoir regulation:

We write you today as members of a strong coalition, which seeks your immediate help to
bring rationality to EPA's Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment rule (LT2) and to stop
the waste of precious public resources. At stake is the imminent expense to Portland ratepayers of
$400 million to comply with the EPA LT2 "treat or cover" open reservoir requirement, a one-sizefits-
all requirement to "save" the public from a public health threat that does not exist in Portland's
water.
In February of 2011, President Obama, through Executive Order 13563, called on the EPA to
conduct a comprehensive review of its regulations in order to improve the regulatory system,
aligning costs and benefits based on sound science and economic analysis. On July 20,
2011, Senator Schumer wrote to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson in response to EPA's failure to take
this opportunity to reconsider and amend the LT2 regulation to expressly allow a more flexible
approach where science and circumstances demonstrate that an uncovered finished water storage
facility does not pose a public health risk.
We request that you partner with Senator Schumer in working with the EPA and President Obama
to reform the LT2 rule's "treat or cover" requirement, creating rational options that consider costs
and benefits, and which could prevent the waste of hundreds of millions of dollars....

Read the letter here:Letter to Senator Wyden Aug18_2011.pdf

July 31, 2011

Ratepayers and Bull Run Activists:

Please see the link below to a letter Senator Schumer sent to the EPA on July 20 requesting rational alternatives to the onerous and unsupported EPA requirement that systems "treat or cover" their open reservoirs. Unlike our PWB, NYC's water department has consistently worked in support of retaining the benefits of their open reservoir (Hillview) and in support of avoiding costly unnecessary "treat or cover" reservoir projects that provide no measurable public health benefit.

An excerpt from Schumer’s press release and letter (see link below): “New Yorkers have seen their water bills rise year after year after year, and the last thing they should be forced to do is pay more for a hugely expensive, questionable project when more cost-effective alternatives exist. While we must ensure that our city’s water supply remains pure, there is more than one way to skin this cat, and the EPA’s rigidity here would impose an unnecessary burden on New York City rate payers without improving public health in a significant way.”

http://schumer.senate.gov/record.cfm?id=333556

Contact your congressmen today and ask that they immediately follow the lead of Senator Schumer by writing to the Obama administration requesting rational regulatory alternatives that allow for retaining Portland's open reservoirs, reservoirs that in 100 years have never been a source of Crypto, Giardia or viruses or any public health problem. EPA has not listened to Obama's call for regulatory reform. The EPA LT2 reservoir requirement was not based on scientific data and it is clearly onerous and burdensome. The stated goal of the EPA LT2 rule is to reduce the level of disease in the community from drinking water. There is no disease in the community from our Bull Run open reservoir water.

Senator Ron Wyden, 326-7525

Senator Jeff Merkley, 503 326-3386 (Portland), 202 224-3753 (Washington D.C.)

Representative, Earl Blumenauer, 503 230-2300 or 230-5413
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Read NYC's March 18 of 2011 substantive, detailed comments to the EPA with very specific objections to the LT2 open reservoir requirements (see pages 8-10) submitted in response to Obama's Executive Order calling on EPA to review regulations to ensure the most effective and least burdensome plan for achieving regulatory objectives,
https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0BzH1qBHNhE0_NTUzZDI4ZDMtNGJhYS00ZDA4LWJiYjctYmZmYWFlMjRmMmNi&hl=en

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July 2 Wall Street Journal article on NYC and LT2 open reservoir requirement:

City Lashes Out at EPA
July 2, 2011
By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL

WALL STREET JOURNAL

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is standing by regulations that will force New York City and other municipalities to spend billions of dollars on projects that provide virtually no health benefits, the Bloomberg administration said in a letter to the agency's chief.

"America's cities are seeking a rational policy developed through constructive engagement but are being largely ignored," Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith and the commissioner of the city's Department of Environmental Protection, Caswell Holloway, wrote to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

Mr. Holloway said EPA regulations are "unnecessarily driving up" the cost of water in New York City. Water rates have increased by 134% since Mr. Bloomberg took office in 2002 and more than 91% since 2006. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2010, the city has spent, at the behest of federal mandates, nearly $15 billion on capital projects for its water and wastewater system. Roughly 1% of that was paid for by the federal government, city officials said.

The 15-page letter, provided to The Wall Street Journal by the city, accuses the EPA of failing to follow through on President Barack Obama's call for a comprehensive and meaningful review of the agency's rules and regulations.

Brendan Gilfillan, an EPA spokesman, said the agency will consider the city's comments "as we will all comments" prior to finalizing the regulations. He added: "EPA is aware that cities across the country are facing difficult budget situations, and we have worked closely with New York City and others to identify innovative, cost-effective solutions—like expanded use of green infrastructure—to protect Americans' water."

Mr. Holloway said there is no better example of the EPA's burdensome regulations than the requirement that the city spend $1.6 billion to cover a 90-acre reservoir in Yonkers. The public health benefit of this cap, he said, will "essentially be nil."

In an interview, Mr. Holloway said the agency's preliminary review of its regulations shows it's not "interested in really wrestling with some of these difficult issues to try to help cities who have really been bearing 100% of the burden of these water quality investments."

The letter pits Mayor Michael Bloomberg—who also serves as chairman of the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, a global environmental organization that recently joined forced with former President Bill Clinton—against the Obama administration, setting the stage for a battle as the agency works to finalize its regulatory review later this summer.

Other mayors around the country are also lashing out at the EPA. Don Plusquellic, mayor of Akron, Ohio, and former president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, described the EPA as "rabid dogs coming after cities." He called on Congress to provide some checks and balances to an agency "run wild."

Mr. Gilfillan said the EPA welcomes comments from all members of the public on the regulatory review.

Ben Grumbles, former assistant administrator for water at the EPA and currently president of the Clean Water America Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, said he believes the EPA is striving "to do the right thing." But it needs to work harder to reduce costs and avoid imposing "unfunded or unfounded" mandates on communities, he said.

"They clearly have not found the sweet spot in finding the balance," he said. "The push needs to continue to get the EPA to factor in local considerations and economic impact."

Write to Michael Howard Saul at michael.saul@wsj.com

 

June 3, 2011

Please click on News in the menu to the left for:

Questions and Answers about Portland’s Open Reservoirs

May, 2011

New legal opinion!

Click here to read legal expert's opinion on opportunity to secure a open reservoir variance and change schedule of compliance for costly and unnecessary LT2 rule reservoir "treat or cover" requirement.  Mayor Adams convened a meeting on Thursday May 19, 2011 to discuss the new legal opinion with the Portland Water User Coalition attorney's. On May 25, City attorney Terry Thatcher misrepresented the position of the Coalition's attorney's when presenting to City Council.

May, 2011
The City of New York as part of their effort in support of permanent protections for their Hillview open reservoir, is taking advantage of President Obama’s February 2011 invitation to comment on streamlining or elimination of unduly burdensome federal regulations.  "The EPA recently began a new retrospective review of our existing regulations to determine whether any such regulations should be modified, streamlined, expanded, or repealed, as called for by President Obama in Executive Order 13563. The purpose of this review is to make the Agency's regulatory program more effective or less burdensome in achieving its objectives." EPA website

On March 18, 2011 NYC submitted substantive, detailed comments (see pp. 1-10) and very specific objections to LT2 Open Reservoir requirements (pp. 8-10), unlike the City of Portland.

April 27, 2011

SAVE THE RESERVOIRS/SAVE THE DATE
MAY 18, 2011


WATER RATE HEARING- AN OPPORTUNITY TO TESTIFY ON PORTLAND'S OPEN RESERVOIRS AND THE PORTLAND WATER BUREAU'S PLAN TO RAISE WATER RATES AGAIN- 85% OVER THE NEXT 5 YEARS


MAY 18, 2011
---10:15am
CITY HALL, COUNCIL CHAMBERS
1221 S.W. 4TH AVE.

April 19, 2011

Dr. Thomas Ward's letter to Comm. Randy Leonard 3.08.2011.

March 8, 2011
Commissioner Randy Leonard
1221 SW 4th Avenue Room 210
Portland, Oregon 97204
RE: LT2 Water Mandates
Dear Commissioner Leonard:
I am writing in regards to the Portland Water Bureau's ongoing efforts
to pursue a regulatory variance from the LT2 guidelines.
Specifically, it is my hope that the Portland Water Bureau, in
cooperation with the Oregon State Public Health Division, requests an
extended compliance time-frame from the EPA, along with a
consideration for eventual long-term variance. It is my professional
belief that the there is both sufficient water quality data and
preliminary epidemiologic data on the lack of major or minor concern
for waterborne illness due to Cryptosporidium and other potential
enteric pathogens to justify an extension of compliance from the EPA.
I am the Co-Director of Oregon Health Science University Medical
School Microbiology Course, Director of the OHSU Infectious Disease
Fellowship Training Program, and Professor of Medicine at OHSU. I am
Board Director for the Research and Education Group, Portland's HIV
community clinical research consortium. I have practiced and taught
clinical infectious disease for over three decades. I am past
President of the Oregon Infectious Diseases Society. I have published
on clinical aspects of disease due to Cryptosporidium, and am highly
knowledgeable regarding other microbial pathogens that have the
potential to cause waterborne illness. I am highly aware of the
health consequences of enteric disease for patients with advanced HIV
infection and for others who have impaired immunity. I have frequent
and close contact with local, state and federal public health
officials, and closely follow regional and national epidemiologic
trends for communicable diseases. I am writing as a concerned
Portland resident.
To those who have closely followed communicable diseases for several
decades, the 1993 massive waterborne outbreak due to Cryptosporidium
in Milwaukee was the milestone event that established the need for
upgrading regulations regarding the nation's drinking water. Since
this event, the subsequent series of EPA regulations dealing with
treatment of surface and ground water, developed in conjunction with
the CDC Parasitic Division and other federal public health officials,
has provided important guidance towards making our drinking water
safer. The ongoing scientific inquiry and understanding that has
guided regulatory improvements in our water supply should be the basis
for regional decisions on how best to make certain that Portland's
municipal water supply remains safe. The EPA and the CDC* have
stated that the science used to develop regulations for protecting our
water supply should be based on surveillance information on 1) water
quality data, and 2) epidemiologic data on waterborne disease
outbreaks. We are fortunate to have excellent and current
surveillance information addressing these two areas.
Water sampling data from Bull Run and from our water reservoirs has
demonstrated compliance with the EPA standard of a maximum
contamination goal of zero oocysts for Cryptosporidium. This result
is consistent with the view that there is a very low or no risk for
Cryptosporidium contamination of our highly protected and
geographically isolated Bull Run water source, and theoretical low
risk for surface water or other contamination of our open reservoirs.
Epidemiologic data from the Oregon Public Health Division, available
since 1988, has failed to demonstrate waterborne disease from
Cryptosporidium attributable to Portland's drinking water. That
local and state public health officials have the ability to detect
waterborne Cryptosporidium outbreaks has been demonstrated in a number
of different regions throughout the State where waterborne outbreaks
have been well characterized, all in areas served by municipal and noncommunity
water supplies outside the Bull Run water supply.
Epidemiologic data from Oregon is useful for predicting what the major
likely sources for Cryptosporidium are throughout our state. The
pattern of maximum seasonal occurrence of reported cases in August and
September points towards a likely major role for recreational water
exposure as a source of infection (pools, interactive fountains,
etc.); importantly, the seasonal pattern of disease occurrence has no
correlation to seasonal rain fall patterns, and is therefore, not
consistent with possible rain-induced surface water, and resultant
parasitic contamination, of Bull Run water or of our open water
reservoirs. Oregon's epidemiologic data also shows that
Cryptosporidium disease occurs in mostly young children and the
parents of young children, supporting a major mode of direct person-toperson
Cryptosporidium transmission in daycare and other congregated
child settings, and of secondary person-to-person transmission in homesettings.
Available epidemiologic data in Oregon does not suggest
that Cryptosporidium acquisition is caused by common-source waterborne
transmission from Bull Run water or from our local reservoirs.
Ongoing regulatory improvement in our water quality should be guided
by carefully obtained and analyzed scientifically-based, surveillance
information, and not by less rational reactions to a one-time striking
waterborne outbreak. Locally, we are fortunate in having high quality
information to assist in decision-making on how best to improve the
safety of our water supply. The best way forward in my opinion would
be to ask the EPA for an extended compliance time-frame, so as to
gather longer term surveillance data on both water sampling quality,
and for ongoing epidemiologic data collection that can continue to
evaluate for the occurrence of common-source waterborne illnesses
attributable to the Bull Run water supply. Consideration should be
given to partnering with the State Public Health Division and CDC in
gathering even more robust epidemiologic data that better
characterizes the sources for microbiologically confirmed
Cryptosporidium cases that occur in persons who live within the
geographic area served by the Bull Run watershed. Science, guided by
carefully collected surveillance information, should determine whether
the Bull Run water source and in-town reservoirs in the future require
additional treatment measures. My strong opinion, based on available
water quality and epidemiologic information, is that our current Bull
Run water source, storage and handling systems provide us with a safe
water supply.
* http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5108a1.htm
Sincerely,
Thomas T. Ward, M.D.
wardt@ohsu.edu
cc:
Mayor Adams
Commissioner Nick Fish
Commissioner Amanda Fritz
Commissioner Dan Saltzman

April 11, 2011

To view the updated list of organizational supporters or to sign on your organization to the community letter, please visit this site:

http://foresttofaucetpdx.blogspot.com/p/signed-supporters.html

March 16, 2011

Community Action letter to City Commissioners- unnecessary buried tanks/treatment plant
Below please find a community letter signed by a diverse group of stakeholders submitted to Portland City Council last Friday in anticipation of today's ( March 14, 2011) City Council budget session. This afternoon City Council will consider the Portland Water Bureau plans to further increase your water bill by 85% over the next 5 years on the heels of a 47% increase over the last 3 years!
 
The letter addresses new developments and makes specific requests regarding changing the City's LT2 policy on the unsupported $500 million in LT2 projects - burying the Tabor and Washington Park open reservoirs and building  an additional Bull Run treatment plant in the watershed- projects that will create new and unique risks, provide no measurable public health benefit, contribute significantly to massive debt and greatly increase our already high and unaffordable water bills, degrading our quality of life.
 
Copied below is the community letter. The letter sign on list currently includes 12 large businesses, Sierra Club Columbia Chapter, Friends of the Reservoirs (FOR), Physicians for Social Responsibility, Mt. Tabor and Arlington Heights N.A., Food and Water Watch and others. If you are aware of businesses, environmental or neighborhood organizations interested in signing on to this letter please forward their acknowledgement of interest.
 
Last week's Sunday and Monday editions of the Oregonian included articles on this issue. Sunday article on EPA and Crypto, http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/03/portland_ratepayers_poised_to.html
 
Monday article on open reservoirs, http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/03/concerns_rise_on_portlands_cos.html.  

Mary Kitch (editorial board), who has twice before written editorials in support of the cozy consultant/ PWB burial plans wrote an editorial for yesterday's Oregon advising City Hall to hold a LT2 work session and seek a delay on reservoir burial projects, averting a financial crisis.

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2011/03/mounting_water_bills_point_por.html
 

Community Action letter to City Commissioners- unnecessary buried tanks/treatment plant

Mayor Adams and Commissioners Saltzman, Fritz and Fish
1221 SW 4th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97204

March 10, 2011

Dear Commissioners,

We acknowledge and thank you for your efforts to pursue a regulatory variance from Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) water treatment mandates. We all know that this is a ridiculous one-size-fits-all mandate that fails to take into account the protected, pristine nature of the Bull Run watershed and the purity of our source water, as supported by newly available scientific evidence which conclusively proves that Cryptosporidium does not exist in Bull Run water. We strongly support aggressive efforts to pursue the LT2 Bull Run treatment waiver. We stand ready to assist you in any way we can.

During recent years, extensive and expensive tests performed in Bull Run and at our in-town reservoirs demonstrated scientifically what we have all suspected for years, the lack of Cryptosporidium in our water. We also now know that costs for meeting current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance timelines for construction of new water storage and treatment are extremely high and come at a time when Portland ratepayers are particularly economically vulnerable. As stated multiple times by multiple public health officials, there will be no measurable public health benefit derived from expensive new treatment and storage currently required by the EPA. We can now prove it, and given that proof, we are asking for you to change the City’s policy on the LT2 projects.

New Developments

In recent months, we’ve learned of significant new developments in the approach of EPA leadership to Portland’s compliance with the LT2 rule. On February 2, Lisa Jackson made a public statement before a congressional committee that indicates the EPA will not oppose an Oregon state decision should the state decide to grant Portland a “clean water” variance. While there are no guarantees of permanent regulatory relief, we welcome this as a big step forward and are grateful for it.

As you may recall, several of the undersigned organizations participated with the City of Portland in a successful coalition effort to establish a “clean water” variance at the state level, one which anticipated problems associated with a one-size-fits-all rule and could benefit Portland and other Oregon municipalities with protected watersheds, including Baker City. We understood then and understand now that this route can be used to secure compliance with both elements of the LT2 rule (source water treatment and treatment/coverage of finished water reservoirs).

Given the new thinking at the EPA plus the recent publication of the 2010 American Water Works Association Research Foundation study (Project 3021) which demonstrated that there is no Cryptosporidium present in our finished drinking water reservoirs, we believe that now is the best time to pursue the same compliance strategy for both elements of the LT2 rule. We strongly encourage you to revisit the City's strategy as soon as possible.

Construction Schedule

Concurrently, we ask that you reconsider the Water Bureau’s construction schedule for the development of covered water storage. Put forward in 2009, the schedule for reservoir burial appeared to be hurriedly developed, submitted to the City Council without time for significant review/ comment and then immediately submitted to the EPA to meet an EPA deadline to simply have a timeline in place. The schedule failed to adequately consider how Portland’s economy might be performing in 2011 or how residents are coping with stagnant incomes but rising utility costs. Indeed, since then, many small businesses have closed and significant economic challenges to residents and businesses remain.

While the City took 20 years to build the Big Pipe, the Water Bureau plans to complete the majority of $400 million in storage projects in the next five years. This timeline front-loads water infrastructure debt and exacerbates rate increases. The Water Bureau’s debt will balloon from $399 million in FY 2011 to $849 million in FY ’16, and service on that debt will grow from $28.3 million to $70.4 million annually, over that same time period.2

Given the significant rate increases forecast for the next five years, on top of a nearly 150% increase in rates over the last ten years, there is ample justification on economic grounds alone for a revision to this construction schedule which would extend these projects over a 15 to 20 year horizon. According to the Oregonian (March 6, 2011), "New York City, facing a $1.6 billion bill to cover a huge reservoir, won a reprieve until 2028 and is trying to delay it to 2034. It's 'contemplating' applying for a variance from the EPA rule forcing the cover, a spokesman says."

While the physical infrastructure of New York’s water supply system differs from that of Portland, and the reason for the delay differs, the most important fact is that Portland has a very reasonable justification for delay. City and regional ratepayers are experiencing a long and terrible recession. On top of that, we’ve assumed obligations (through implementation of the Bull Run Habitat Conservation Plan) to pay $33 million to modify our intake system in the coming fiscal year and are incurring additional costs of $137 million to build new storage at Powell Butte. Easing the burden on Portland’s struggling residents and businesses is a reasonable justification for seeking an extension of the timeline the City offered the EPA in 2009. This is within the City’s power to do, and we see no regulatory, legal or political reasons why this should not be done.

Questions about treatment techniques and treatment at the outlets

There is strong evidence that Portland’s $500 million program for treatment and new storage may be much more involved and costly than is necessary to achieve full LT2 compliance.
We are familiar with the path Rochester, New York is pursuing to comply with the LT2 “treat or cover” mandates. Rochester has elected to treat their drinking water at the outlets of their open reservoirs at a fraction of the cost of Portland’s LT2 compliance program. We believe there may be insufficient analysis of this “treatment at the outlet” compliance option or alternative treatment techniques versus the current alternative being pursued—treatment at Bull Run and development of new storage tanks at Powell Butte, Kelly Butte and Washington Park.

The Water Bureau asserts that they have studied treatment at the reservoirs and at the other points (other than Mt. Tabor) where water enters the distribution system, and that analysis determined this alternative to be “not feasible,” according to David Shaff in the February 17th meeting of the Portland Utility Review Board. According to Shaff, “Our assessment was it wasn’t feasible for our system.” Shaff went on to say, “The treatment plant you’d need to build just at Tabor would be bigger than what we’re building at Bull Run.”

This assertion raises many questions. First, what is the assertion based on? Has the Water Bureau conducted a study of treatment at the outlets? Second, if a study was performed, when was it completed or published? Third, what were the estimated costs for Mt. Tabor and the other points where water enters the distribution system? Fourth, have the results of this analysis been compared to the current plan for treatment within the Bull Run watershed and buried storage for in-town finished water? Finally, was this analysis of treatment at the outlets shared with the City Council and did you all have an opportunity to discuss the tradeoffs between this and the current compliance strategy, which may be separated by hundreds of millions of dollars in cost? Fundamentally, the question is, are we disregarding a less costly LT2 compliance program, and if so, why?

Now, with new EPA information in hand, we submit the following recommendations for your timely consideration. Without strong and immediate action on your part, steep water rate increases will likely force families to leave their homes and force businesses to leave Portland, increasing the financial burden on remaining ratepayers while degrading our quality of life.

We ask you to please:

1) Direct the Water Bureau to work with the federal congressional delegation to secure from the EPA immediate postponement or deferral of both LT2 compliance timelines.

2) Revise and expand the timeline for new water storage construction and direct the Water Bureau to cease all ground-breaking construction activities related to LT2 at least during the next fiscal year.

3) Modify the Water Bureau budget, decreasing the investment in LT2-related capital improvement projects next year and significantly decreasing the proposed 2011-2012 water rate increase, now projected to be 13.9%.

4) Support submittal of a variance application for in-town reservoirs, based on the water quality findings of the 2010 American Water Works Association Research Foundation study (Project 3021). Request that the Drinking Water Program of the Oregon Health Authority, having assumed primacy for implementation of the LT2 rule, grant a “clean water variance” for Bull Run treatment and treatment of finished water in protected in-town reservoirs. Based on the City of New York’s legal opinion and other research, a variance for open reservoirs from LT2 covering mandates is authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It can be granted by the State as it has elected primacy over the same. It is within Portland’s right to pursue such a variance. Should such an application be refused, the EPA and/or the State would have to provide a basis for that decision, and that justification would be subject to legal challenge which Portland would prevail on.

5) Engage our federal congressional delegation in long-term work to secure permanent regulatory compliance through a legislative remedy. Such a remedy is now more likely given the new 112th Congress and continuing economic challenges faced by the nation as a whole.

Today we have a historic opportunity to restore rationality to public health decisions, and responsibility to our budgetary process. Thank you for your efforts thus far and thank you in advance for your further work.

Sincerely,

Regna Merritt and
Theodora Tsongas, PhD, MS for
Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

Kent Craford for
Portland Water Users Coalition
Members:
ALSCO, American Linen Division
American Property Management
Ashland Hercules Water Technologies
Darigold
Harsch Investment
The Hilton Portland and Executive Tower
New System Laundry
SAPA Inc.
Siltronic AG
Sunshine Dairy Foods
Vigor Industrial
Widmer Brothers Brewing

Floy Jones for
Friends of the Reservoirs

Scott Shlaes for
Oregon Wild

Christine Lewis for
Oregon Chapter Sierra Club -
Columbia Group

Julia DeGraw for Food & Water Watch

Franklin Gearhart for
Citizens Interested in Bull Run, Inc.

Scott Fernandez for
Citizens for Portland's Water

Stephanie Stewart for
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association - Land Use Committee

Jeffrey Boly for
Arlington Neighborhood Association


cc: Commissioner Leonard
The Oregonian

January 11, 2011 - A very important Oregonian article:

Tests of Bull Run water find no cryptosporidium; Portland wants to skip treatment plant
Published: Monday, January 03, 2011, 8:49 PM    Updated: Tuesday, January 04, 2011, 9:59 AM
By Scott Learn, The Oregonian

See the full article : http://blog.oregonlive.com/environment_impact/print.html?entry=/2011/01/750_samples_of_bull_run_water.html

Selected quotes from the above article:


"We don't have the sources of cryptosporidium in source water or in the distribution system," says Kent Craford, who represents a group of Portland large water users. "It's like we've been declared cancer free but we're still going through with the full chemo treatment."

Local health officials say cryptosporidiosis, the gastrointestinal ailment associated with the fecal microbe, is a blip on the radar screen of health risks.  

The lion's share of cases stem from diaper changing, toddlers with subpar hygiene and contaminated public swimming pools, they say, not from the at-most extremely low levels of the parasite in Bull Run water.

Craford, Friends of the Reservoirs and other advocates want the bureau to do more to avoid the rule, including seeking Congressional action or an implementation delay.

They also want the bureau to seek respite from requirements under the same federal rule to take its in-town drinking water reservoirs at Mount Tabor and Washington parks offline, with a tab that could reach $400 million.

Sampling of 7,000 liters at one reservoir in Washington Park and one at Mount Tabor in 2008 and 2009 also found no cryptosporidium.

Shaff of the Water Bureau says that sampling was more limited, and that the EPA has firmly closed the door on allowing the in-town reservoirs to remain open. "That will really be when hell freezes over," he says. Advocates say the possibilities haven't been exhausted.

The bureau plans to submit a Bull Run variance by spring, tapping consultant Camp Dresser and McKee to help at a cost of up to $600,000. It hopes to have an answer from EPA by year's end. "

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners
1120 SW Fifth Ave
Portland, Oregon 97204-1926

Re: Senator Merkley Open Reservoir Assistance

Dear Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners,

On November 09, 2010 community stakeholders met with Senator Jeff Merkley to discuss EPA’s unsupported LT2 Cryptosporidium open reservoir “treatment technique” requirement that forces Portland to either additionally “treat or cover” our open reservoirs to address non-existent contaminants, Cryptosporidium, Giardia and viruses.

 

Among other things we provided Senator Merkley with information on the AwwaRF 3021 Infectious Crypto study that tested 7000 liters at the outlet of Portland’s open reservoirs with zero Crypto detects, NYC’s 160-page data report reflecting their extensive effort to retain their open reservoir, EPA’s storage facility documentation of real public health problems only with covered storage facilities. Senator Merkley was given the updated community support list noting the many businesses, neighborhood coalitions and associations, environmental groups, consumer organization, democracy groups and others that support the retention of Portland’s open reservoirs.

 

The Senator was unaware that the Water Bureau’s burial plans will cost ratepayers $403 million (nearly $800 million with debt service). He was surprised to learn that the Water Bureau was already spending $22 million on the $99 million UV Radiation treatment plant despite the fact that the “variance” sampling of over 9000 liters has detected zero Cryptosporidium oocysts. He is aware that EPA’s sampling method does not distinguish between harmless and harmful Cryptosporidium.

 

Senator Merkley told us that Commissioner Leonard has never spoken with him with about assisting in the community effort to retain our open reservoirs. Senator Merkley advised that without the City making an effort his role supporting the community is more difficult. He noted Commissioner Leonard’s reputation as a fighter and wondered why Leonard doesn’t bring the full force of his potential to this cause.


While Commissioner Leonard has suggested that the community blame the Congressional delegation if alternatives aren’t secured for the open reservoirs, clearly City Council will be to blame if a serious effort is not made to retain Portland’s open reservoirs.

 

In our January 17, 2010 letter to City Council we advised that the City not rule out a legislative approach. Recently another community (in Alaska) garnered the support of their Congressional delegation, introducing a piece of LT2-related legislation (HR6393). This bill is unreasonable in its reach, and endangers the public health of citizens in systems with toxic contaminants like arsenic and radon. Where this bill sits, reasonable LT2 reform should exist. Now is the time to introduce supportable LT2 legislation, legislation that not only protects our Bull Run open reservoir system, but will also help NYC, Baker City, and small, unfiltered systems in Alaska.


If the State Drinking Water Program (EPA) denies a “treatment technique” variance for the open reservoirs and/or does not approve the Bull Run source water variance, litigation is yet another viable option. These alternatives in addition to renegotiating the rule during its 2012 6-year review are significantly cheaper than proceeding with the corporate-benefiting plans for unnecessary reservoir burial and UV Radiation. EPA cannot demonstrate that additionally “treating” Portland’s open reservoirs will result in reducing the scientifically documented absence of the contaminant to below its current level of zero.

 

Our community does not support burying or otherwise eliminating Portland’s open reservoirs. This community does not support the corporate-negotiated, corporate-benefiting EPA LT2 Crypto requirements that will degrade our system, create new and unique public health risks, create massive new debt, and double our water bills all while providing no measurable public health benefit.

 

Senator Merkley is looking to City Council as to his next steps with regard to working to protect Portland’s beloved open reservoirs (let’s not throw away $45 million in recent reservoir upgrades just yet).

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Floy Jones On behalf of The Friends of the Reservoirs

 

 

Portland Water Bureau Water Quality
Rev. Date: 01/28/2010
Author: Ann Richter
Portland Water Bureau’s participation in a Water Research Foundation study on infectious Cryptosporidium in finished drinking water

In 2008 and 2009 the Portland Water Bureau participated in the Water Research Foundation (WaterRF) Project 3021, Detection of Infectious Cryptosporidium in Water. The purpose of the WaterRF project was to “examine conventionally filtered surface water for the presence of infectious Cryptosporidium using both cell culture techniques and molecular methods,” and “attempt to repeat a recent study that reported a risk of infectious Cryptosporidium in filtered drinking water so that a scientifically sound consensus may be reached.”
The term infectious for this study meant that the Cryptosporidium oocysts would be able to form a cluster of infection in cell culture, detectable using immunofluorescent assay microscopy. The method appears to be specific for the three most common species of Cryptosporidium known to infect humans: C. parvum, C hominis, and C. meleagridis. The method does not detect the presence of nonviable (dead) oocysts.
PWB was one of many anonymous utilities that contributed finished drinking water samples. Portland does not have a filtered drinking water system but was invited to participate nevertheless.

Portland’s Samples
PWB's sample volumes ranged from 83.5 liters to 305.6 liters, for a total volume of about 7,000 liters during the study. Samples were collected approximately two times per month from June 2008 to April 2009. For each sampling day, two samples were collected; one sample was shipped to the Texas AgriLife Research Center at Texas A&M University and the other sample was shipped to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for laboratory analysis. Samples were filtered onsite using an Envirochek HV filter. There were 18 sampling dates for a total of 36 samples. PWB’s sample location represented the outlet of Reservoir 4 (located at Washington Park). If Reservoir 4 was shut down, PWB sampled from the Westside supply line, which represents water from the outlet of Reservoir 5 (located at Mt. Tabor).

Portland’s Results
The primary investigators of this study have informed PWB by email and phone that no infectious oocysts were detected in any of PWB’s samples. PWB received a summary of results from samples collected in 2008, but has not received official final results for all samples collected.

WaterRF Project Results
The survey phase for WaterRF Project #3021 was completed in July 2009, and as of September 2009 the investigators were in the process of finishing the final report. PWB has been told that no infectious oocysts were detected for any utility participating in this study.
The WaterRF study has not yet been published; however the WaterRF website indicates 2010 for project completion. More information on this study can be found at: HYPERLINK "http://www.waterresearchfoundation.org/research/TopicsAndProjects/projectSnapshot.aspx?pn=3021" http://www.waterresearchfoundation.org/research/TopicsAndProjects/projectSnapshot.aspx?pn=3021

Were Portland’s open finished water reservoirs ever tested for Cryptosporidium before 2008?
Yes. In 1994/95, three samples from Reservoir 6 (Mt. Tabor) and three samples from Reservoir 4 (Washington Park) were collected and tested for Cryptosporidium and Giardia. No Cryptosporidium oocysts and no Giardia cysts were detected in any of these six samples.

 

January 17, 2010

Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners
1120 SW Fifth Ave
Portland, Oregon 97204-1926

RE: SDWA Open Reservoir Alternative Compliance

Dear Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners,

On December 16, 2009 EPA replied to Commissioner Leonard’s November 2009 request for clarification regarding the reservoir Variance application process. In this reply the EPA contends that the Variance provided for by Congress within the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is not available for the open reservoirs.

Ten months ago in March 2009 EPA responded in the same manner to New York City, another city seeking to retain their large Hillview open reservoir. New York was not deterred by EPA’s response and New York’s legal team advised the Portland Water Bureau that the EPA’s interpretation of the variance applicability is in fact wrong. We agree EPA is wrong. The SDWA clearly authorizes EPA to grant a variance from the LT2 “cover or treat” Cryptosporidium “ treatment technique” requirement.

New York’s Department of Environmental Quality spent more than a year compiling data, 161 pages, to support the retention of its Hillview reservoir. Unfortunately, during that same period of time the Portland Water Bureau focused a majority of its resources on developing and implementing fast-tracked reservoir burial projects, doing so without any public involvement.

New York City’s extensive undeterred efforts to preserve their open reservoir provide a clear blueprint for action by the City of Portland. The community expectation is that the City makes a serious effort to secure the available SWDA reservoir variance, an effort evidenced in part by a Water Bureau work product. A single late-date letter to the EPA regarding a reservoir variance is not enough.

The Friends of the Reservoirs offer the following advice:
Stop approving consultant contracts. The plan filed with the EPA in March 2009 gives YOU, City Council the power to alter the plan or the pace at which it is implemented. As noted in the fine print, the reservoir burial plan is contingent upon City Council approval of individual projects, it can be renegotiated with the EPA if the City Council does not approve the current schedule for any particular project within it.

Require the Portland Water Bureau to prepare a detailed report documenting relevant scientific data in support of a reservoir variance.

Seek an extension or deferral from the EPA from the burial projects. Community stakeholders have long recommended this action for both the open reservoirs and the source water requirement.

Engage the assistance of the City Attorney and/or outside counsel Foley Hoag.

Seek further assistance from Senator Jeff Merkley who has demonstrated his support for retention of the open reservoirs.

Submit the data to the EPA or state of Oregon if the state has assumed Primacy for the regulation; in 2006 the state legislature unanimously approved and the Governor signed into law a state provision for variances with the full knowledge that Portland would be seeking such a variance for its open reservoirs.

Do not rule out legislation. The opportunity for further Congressional intervention is not only possible but also likely in light of the acknowledged flaws with EPA’s source water variance plan. The American Water Works Association Research Foundation 3021 study preliminary report addresses the flaws of EPA’s LT2. This report is discussed in the Friends of the Reservoirs September 2, 2009 letter to City Council.

In an internal EPA memo (3/31/09) addressing the reservoir applicable SDWA variance provision EPA’s legal council states “The alternative treatment technique is available but not approvable because the only alternative EPA is aware of is a risk mitigation plan … (emphasis added)” EPA states that it wants to be consistent in its denial. Scientific data is an “approvable” way of demonstrating that our open reservoirs pose no greater risk to public health than covering or additionally treating.

The goal of the rule is to reduce disease incidence associated with Cryptosporidium and other disease-causing microorganisms in drinking water through “treatment techniques”.
Scientific data from the recent American Water Works Association Research Association Foundation study AwwarF 3021 testing large volumes of water at the outlets of Portland’s open reservoirs demonstrated that there are zero infectious Cryptosporidium in our open reservoirs. Burying, covering, or additionally treating the open reservoirs will not reduce the level of infectious Crptosporidium to below Zero. Portland’s Total Coliform Rule data meets EPA standards. Our reservoirs are not subject to surface water runoff; they are cleaned twice a year.

As Commissioner Saltzman said last July about LT2, "this is a regulation in search of a problem... we should continue to purse all alternative options beyond a large capital project."

Given the extensive scientific data in support of retaining Portland’s open reservoirs, the broad-based community support for retaining our open reservoirs, the exorbitant cost of burial ($403million, $800 million with debt service) and the new public health risks associated with covered reservoirs, it is incumbent on the City to push back and push back hard.

Sincerely,
Floy Jones
On behalf of The Friends of the Reservoirs

Cc Interested parties

ATTACHMENT

The following is an updated list noting some of community stakeholders who have written to the Congressional delegation, City Council or both in support of retaining the open reservoirs and avoiding building an additional Bull Run treatment plant:

The Oregon Consumer League

The Sierra Club (Columbia chapter)

Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association

South Tabor Neighborhood Association

Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association

Homestead Neighborhood Association
State Representative Ben Cannon

Neighbors West/ Northwest Coalition of Neighborhoods (representing 10 neighborhoods)
Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition (representing 20 neighborhoods)

Alsco American Linen

Hopworks Brewery

Rock Bottom Brewery

Craft Brewer's Alliance- Widmer Brothers Brewery

Richmond Neighborhood Association

Southeast Uplift Livability Committee

Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood Association, Sustainability Committee

Portland Utility Review Board Chairs Paulette Rossi and Frank Ray (served on 2004 Reservoir Panel)

Mill Park Neighborhood Association

Oregon Wild

Eastside Democrats

Alliance for Democracy- Portland Chapter

Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association

PSU Capstone Water Quality class- 2008 Winter Term studying LT2 and Bull Run
and The Friends of the Reservoirs

On January 12 during a Council session the community was told that a reply from the EPA on a reservoir variance had not been received; then on January 13 the Water Bureau issued a press release advising of the December 16 EPA response indicating that the original letter was somehow lost.
Based on extensive review of water-quality data and other information collected by the Department of Environmental Protection, New York believes they can make the requisite showings required by the variance from the reservoir cover or additionally treat requirement. Portland’s data is superior to that of New York. Portland can make the requisite showing that our open reservoirs have not caused Cryptosporidium or other drinking water related disease.
EPA moved the goal post twice on the source water variance plan, which consumed more than 17 months. If EPA refuses to accept the new science that supports genotyping, confirming whether any oocyst is harmful (dead or alive, “viability of the oocyst), and insists on sampling away from our source water out in the tributaries then further federal intervention will be necessary
While EPA has documented public health illness and deaths only with buried and covered storage, EPA failed to establish the general level of contamination in buried and covered storage thus EPA cannot factually state that buried and covered storage is more protective than open storage. See EPA white paper HYPERLINK "http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf" \o "http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf" http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf.
EPA in its own white paper acknowledges that cancer-causing nitrification could be an unintended consequence of its LT2 reservoir requirement. Nitrification occurs in the absence of sunlight in chloraminated systems, see section 3.2 Absence of sunlight, pg.11 HYPERLINK "http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw000/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_nitrification.pdf" http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw000/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_nitrification.pdf.
Radon gas is a recognized toxic contaminate that is found in Portland’s Columbia South Shore Well Field ground water aquifers, which are Portland’s backup water supply. This gas is a serious problem in NE Portland. Burying the reservoirs risks additional radon venting into Portland homes.

May 19, 2010

The Ugly Truth about the Portland Water Bureau

and their Corporate Ties

On Wednesday, May 19, 2010, Portland City Council will consider awarding $12 million in consultant contracts related to designing a Bull Run UV Radiation plant leading to further water bill increases. While contracts were expected for this unnecessary work, the process used by the Portland Water Bureau to select these consultants is tainted. And information obtained via FOIA requests calls into question the integrity of comments made by Commissioner Leonard last summer as to the basis for this expensive decision.

The Portland Water Bureau has devised a strategy for awarding consultant contracts to preferred consultants avoiding public transparency while creating an unfair advantage for insider consulting firms. Utilizing Flexible Service contracts (on-call professional service contracts) the Portland Water Bureau has given Bull Run Supply Water Treatment pre-design work to their preferred engineering consultants, i.e CH2M Hill, thereby giving those consultants an insider advantage for larger design contracts. While Flexible Service contracts are brought to Council for approval, the specific work performed under those contracts does not require additional review or authorization by Council, thus avoiding public transparency.

On July 29, 2009 during a Council session Water Bureau Commissioner Randy Leonard stated that he would not be influenced by consultants with regard to Bull Run decisions specifically naming CH2MHill and MWH, advising that “he directed the water bureau to use no consultants in making recommendations to me and this Council as to what is in the interest of water drinkers”. Through a subsequent FOIA request, Friends of the Reservoirs learned that CH2M HIll was already working on a Bull Run UV Radiation treatment plant project at that time. CH2M Hill is a contributor to the Portland Water Bureau’s "UV Basis For Design Report" which will influence Council decisions. CH2M Hill has also been involved in Portland ’s LT2 alternative strategy, the source water variance process. A clear conflict of interest exists.

CH2M Hill has been working on a Bull Run UV Radiation treatment plant "Basis of Design Report" under a 2007 $750,000 PWB Flexible Service contract (# 37433). When this contract was brought before Council on June 6, 2007 there was no public disclosure of any work to be performed related to controversial projects such as design of an additional Bull Run treatment plant. The authorizing ordinance no. 181022 states… “these contracts will support various projects such as…. water main improvements along the transit mall and other main replacements….”

On Wednesday, May 19, 2010 the Portland City Council will consider awarding CH2M Hill a $3,669,790 Bull Run Supply Water Treatment design contract, item 716. The Friends of the Reservoirs informed City Council in July 2009 of the long inappropriate string of cozy consultant contracts awarded to the corporate home of Joe Glicker (since 1995).

Joe Glicker is a former Portland Water Bureau official previously with Montgomery, Watson, Harza Global (MWH), currently VP at CH2M Hill. Glicker is well known to Bull Run advocates as the Portland Water Bureau’s favorite cozy consultant. Since Glicker changed employ to CH2M Hill in 2006, major capital improvement design contracts have followed him to CH2M Hill, i.e. the Sandy River Crossing Tunnel, Powell Butte II buried tank, large Flexible Service contract, UV Radiation Treatment plant design. As regional president of MWH (1995-2006) Glicker was awarded many lucrative contracts related to construction of a Bull Run treatment plant and burying in town storage reservoirs. Glicker was hired under a five-year PWB contract (1997-2003) to assist in negotiating an Environmental Protection Agency regulation, the LT2 rule. As applied to Portland , the rule benefits Glicker and his corporate associates.

In support of CH2M Hill’s successful bid for the $8.5 million Powell Butte II tank (PB II) design contract, CH2MHill referenced their inside track with the Portland Water Bureau. CH2M Hill stated that they had been working on the PWB’s UV Radiation treatment plant design project. Just two corporations submitted proposals for the Powell Butte II buried tank contract. MWH, Black and Veatch and Tetra Tech submitted a proposal under the name Tetra Tech. MWH and Black and Veatch are well known engineering firms and two of the Portland Water Bureau’s three favored consultants. The name Tetra Tech, however, is not familiar to Water Bureau watchdogs.

CH2M Hill has made an effort to influence Portland City Council with regard to a Bull Run treatment plant design. CH2MHill was present when Commissioner Leonard was on tour of Seattle's UV treatment plant in fall '07. Commissioner Leonard acknowledged that their presence was inappropriate.

There is much controversy surrounding plans for our Bull Run water as relates to unnecessary construction of an additional Bull Run treatment plant and burying Portland ’s open reservoirs. The undue influence and improper relationship between the Portland Water Bureau and cozy consultants is no small issue in this regard.

March 26, 2010 -Now after a March 3, Public Hearing, where citizen testimony was unanimously against covering the reservoirs, the Multnomah County Health Department has suddenly started mouthing their newest buzzword; the "precautionary principle"

Friends of the Reservoirs Letter in response:
To: Portland City Council, Multnomah County Health Department, PURB and Interested Parties

March 25, 2010

RE: PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE AS RELATES TO PORTLAND’S OPEN RESERVOIRS, COLUMBIA SOUTH SHORE WELL FIELD, AND SEATTLE FIASCO


The Friends of the Reservoirs thank Dr. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County Health Officer for his public health perspective presented at the PURB March 3, 2010 reservoir public “hearing”. We appreciate his acknowledgement of the benefits of open reservoirs, “sunlight and air”[1] and his having encouraged the newly formed PURB to listen to the community.

Absence of sources of contaminants at open reservoirs

The goal of the EPA LT2 reservoir requirement is to reduce disease in the community from Cryptosporidium, Giardia and viruses, contaminants never found at Portland’s open reservoirs. The American Water Works Association Research Foundation’s (AwwaRF) Infectious Cryptosporidium study, project # 3021 scientifically documented the absence of Cryptosporidium in Portland’s open reservoirs[2].

While beavers are a potential source of Giardia in the Bull Run watershed there are no beavers at the open reservoirs. With regard to viruses, during stakeholder meetings no one including Dr. Gary Oxman and Dr. Amy Sullivan from Multnomah County Health Department (MCH), the Portland Water Bureau, and a local physician, Oregon Wild or the Friends of the Reservoirs were able to identify any virus that could hypothetically pose a unique public health risk with uncovered reservoirs.

Subsequent to the March 3, 2010 public hearing, Multnomah County Health has stated that either covered storage or additional treatment would offer improved protection from the potential harms of Crypto, Giardia or viruses, problems that do not exist at the open reservoirs. Multnomah County Health department fails to cite any potential sources of these contaminants at the open reservoirs.

MCH acknowledges that science is lacking with regard to open reservoirs stating that literature addresses the potential for adverse health outcomes from uncovered storage. However, a substantially larger volume of literature documents not only the same potential problems with covered storage, but also more importantly documents actual public health illness and deaths only with covered storage. EPA documents unique public health risks only with covered storage, cancer-causing nitrification.

Historically, many municipalities throughout the nation have safely provided drinking water from open reservoirs to no small number of the U.S. population, to more than tens of millions. Contemporary examples of large cities with open reservoirs include New York, Rochester, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh’s Highland Park, Seattle, Tacoma and Portland.

Faulty Rationale

Engineering firms involved in negotiating and benefiting from the EPA LT2 regulation, are members of the AWWA, the organization the MCH cites as the rationale for their supporting covered reservoirs.

Problems with the precautionary principle

Subsequent to the March 3 public hearing, the Multnomah County Health Department referenced the precautionary principle. Compare the open reservoir situation with that of the Columbia South Shore Well Field. At the open reservoirs, the contaminants for which MCH supports additional “treatment” are absent. At the Columbia South Shore Well Field [3] sewage-based contaminants are present, specifically pharmaceuticals that include pain killers, antibiotics, birth control hormones (estrogen) and Prozac.[4] Additionally toxic and carcinogenic Radon is continuously present in the Well Field.

While there is broad-based and enduring support for retaining Portland’s open reservoirs, there is no such support from the informed community for the Columbia South Shore Well Field, Portland’s secondary lower-quality ground water back up supply.

In July 2009 the Seattle Times reported on a recent local example of the precautionary principle resulting in contamination of the water supply, Major do-over for two Seattle reservoirs http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2009485902&zsection_id=2003925728&slug=reservoir17m&date=20090717 Seattle’s newly constructed 50 million gallon underground concrete tanks designed by MWH[5] were discovered to have leaks. Contamination of the water supply and a massive costly do over is the result.

Affordability, reservoir variance, rule revision 2012

Regarding affordability, Portland water users were hit with an 18% increase in their water bills just last year and will be paying for costly 2003-2010 open reservoir upgrade construction projects for the next 25 years. These open reservoir projects address public safety and open reservoir operations.

The available Safe Drinking Water Act reservoir "treatment technique" variance is approvable with the already-collected, publicly financed scientific data collected from the AwwaRF 3021 study as well as data collected as required for compliance with the Total Coliform Rule.

The EPA LT2 regulation is scheduled for revision in 2012 with the Total Coliform Rule presently under revision. Current studies including AwwaRF 3021 that acknowledge the benefits of sunlight will be considered in the revision of the flawed EPA LT2 rule.

The Friends of the Reservoirs take seriously the goal of assuring that Portland’s drinking water is safe and affordable for all. We support sound science, not political science as the foundation for public health policy. We believe that from “forest to faucet” our current open reservoir Bull Run system is the best drinking water system in the nation.

[1] The benefits of sunlight and ventilation were further expounded upon by former PURB member Scott Fernandez, M.Sc. Biology Microbiology and are acknowledged in the AwwaRF 3021 preliminary report
[2] Extensive AwwaRF 3021 reservoir outlet sampling took place between 2008 and May 2009 with ZERO Cryptosporidium detected. This sampling supplements earlier sampling.
[3] The Columbia South Shore Well Field is tested infinitely less frequently than the open reservoirs and Bull Run source water
[4] Portland’s 2009 Water Quality Report, http://www.portlandonline.com/water/index.cfm?a=244813&c=29551
[5] MWH has been the beneficiary of a long-string of PWB consultant contracts including a 2010 design contract for Kelly Butte

January 27 2010 - The Safe Drinking Water Act provides a way for Portland to avoid wasting 100's of millions of dollars on the EPA's unscientific, misapplied, and unfunded "regulation in search of a problem".

January 17, 2010
Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners
1120 SW Fifth Ave
Portland, Oregon 97204-1926 
 
RE: SDWA Open Reservoir Alternative Compliance 
 
Dear Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners,
 
On December 16, 2009 EPA replied[1] to Commissioner Leonard’s November 2009 request for clarification regarding the reservoir Variance application process. In this reply the EPA contends that the Variance provided for by Congress within the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) is not available for the open reservoirs.
 

Ten months ago in March 2009 EPA responded in the same manner to New York City, another city seeking to retain their large Hillview open reservoir. New York was not deterred by EPA’s response[2] and New York’s legal team advised the Portland Water Bureau that the EPA’s interpretation of the variance applicability is in fact wrong. We agree EPA is wrong.  The SDWA clearly authorizes EPA to grant a variance from the LT2 “cover or treat” Cryptosporidium “ treatment technique” requirement.
 
  New York’s Department of Environmental Quality spent more than a year compiling data, 161 pages, to support the retention of its Hillview reservoir. Unfortunately, during that same period of time the Portland Water Bureau focused a majority of its resources on developing and implementing fast-tracked reservoir burial projects, doing so without any public involvement.
 
 New York City’s extensive undeterred efforts to preserve their open reservoir provide a clear blueprint for action by the City of Portland. The community expectation is that the City makes a serious effort to secure the available SWDA reservoir variance, an effort evidenced in part by a Water Bureau work product. A single late-date letter to the EPA regarding a reservoir variance is not enough.
 
The Friends of the Reservoirs offer the following advice:
1. Stop approving consultant contracts. The plan filed with the EPA in March 2009 gives YOU, City Council the power to alter the plan or the pace at which it is implemented. As noted in the fine print, the reservoir burial plan is contingent upon City Council approval of individual projects, it can be renegotiated with the EPA if the City Council does not approve the current schedule for any particular project within it.
 
1. Require the Portland Water Bureau to prepare a detailed report documenting relevant scientific data in support of a reservoir variance.
 
1. Seek an extension or deferral from the EPA from the burial projects. Community stakeholders have long recommended this action for both the open reservoirs and the source water requirement.
 
1. Engage the assistance of the City Attorney and/or outside counsel Foley Hoag.
 
1. Seek further assistance from Senator Jeff Merkley who has demonstrated his support for retention of the open reservoirs.
 
1. Submit the data to the EPA or state of Oregon if the state has assumed Primacy for the regulation; in 2006 the state legislature unanimously approved and the Governor signed into law a state provision for variances with the full knowledge that Portland would be seeking such a variance for its open reservoirs.
 
1.  Do not rule out legislation. The opportunity for further Congressional intervention is not only possible but also likely in light of the acknowledged flaws with EPA’s source water variance plan[3].
The American Water Works Association Research Foundation 3021 study preliminary report addresses the flaws of EPA’s LT2. This report is discussed in the Friends of the Reservoirs September 2, 2009 letter to City Council.
 
In an internal EPA memo (3/31/09) addressing the reservoir applicable SDWA variance provision EPA’s legal council states “The alternative treatment technique is available but not approvable because the only alternative EPA is aware of is a risk mitigation plan … (emphasis added)” EPA states that it wants to be consistent in its denial.  Scientific data is an “approvable” way of demonstrating that our open reservoirs pose no greater risk to public health than covering or additionally treating[4].
 
 The goal of the rule is to reduce disease incidence associated with Cryptosporidium and other disease-causing microorganisms in drinking water through “treatment techniques”. 
Scientific data from the recent American Water Works Association Research Association Foundation study AwwarF 3021 testing large volumes of water at the outlets of Portland’s open reservoirs demonstrated that there are zero infectious Cryptosporidium in our open reservoirs.  Burying, covering, or additionally treating the open reservoirs will not reduce the level of infectious Crptosporidium to below Zero. Portland’s Total Coliform Rule data meets EPA standards. Our reservoirs are not subject to surface water runoff; they are cleaned twice a year.
 
As Commissioner Saltzman said last July about LT2, "this is a regulation in search of a problem... we should continue to purse all alternative options beyond a large capital project."
 
Given the extensive scientific data in support of retaining Portland’s open reservoirs, the broad-based community support for retaining our open reservoirs, the exorbitant cost of burial ($403million, $800 million with debt service) and the new public health risks[5] associated with covered reservoirs, it is incumbent on the City to push back and push back hard.
 

Sincerely,
 
Floy Jones
On behalf of The Friends of the Reservoirs
 
Cc Interested parties
  
[1] On January 12 during a Council session the community was told that a reply from the EPA on a reservoir variance had not been received; then on January 13 the Water Bureau issued a press release advising of the December 16 EPA response indicating that the original letter was somehow lost.
[2]  Based on extensive review of water-quality data and other information collected by the Department of Environmental Protection, New York believes they can make the requisite showings required by the variance from the reservoir cover or additionally treat requirement. Portland’s data is superior to that of New York. Portland can make the requisite showing that our open reservoirs have not caused Cryptosporidium or other drinking water related disease.
[3] EPA moved the goal post twice on the source water variance plan, which consumed more than 17 months. If EPA refuses to accept the new science that supports genotyping, confirming whether any oocyst is harmful (dead or alive, “viability of the oocyst), and insists on sampling away from our source water out in the tributaries then further federal intervention will be necessary
[4] While EPA has documented public health illness and deaths only with buried and covered storage, EPA failed to establish the general level of contamination in buried and covered storage thus EPA cannot factually state that buried and covered storage is more protective than open storage.  See EPA white paper http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf.
[5] EPA in its own white paper acknowledges that cancer-causing nitrification could be an unintended consequence of its LT2 reservoir requirement. Nitrification occurs in the absence of sunlight in chloraminated systems, see section 3.2 Absence of sunlight, pg.11 http://www.epa.gov/ogwdw000/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_nitrification.pdf.
 Radon gas is a recognized toxic contaminate that is found in Portland’s Columbia South Shore Well Field ground water aquifers, which are Portland’s backup water supply. This gas is a serious problem in NE Portland. Burying the reservoirs risks additional radon venting into Portland homes.

March 22, 2010

Below we have collected the EPA's facts about storage reservoirs comparing both open and closed reservoirs with links to the evidence.

EPA CHART.pdf

November 30, 2009

From: Floy Jones
To: Reservoirs Friends
Sent: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:48 AM
Subject: City intends to obtain an open reservoir variance

Dear open reservoir supporters,

The City intends to obtain an open reservoir variance per the November 4, 2009 letter to Peter Silva, EPA.

A big thank you to Senator Merkley, the Sierra Club Columbia Chapter, Homestead N.A., Arlington Heights N.A., S. Tabor N.A., Mt. Tabor N.A. and everyone else who wrote or otherwise contacted City Hall in support of the open reservoirs subsequent to the Friends of the Reservoirs Sept 2, 2009 letter.

Administrator/ pilot David Shaff took Peter Silva and Region 10 EPA representatives on a flyover tour of Bull Run and the Tabor reservoirs during his visit on October 29th. You can view them at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pdx_water/sets/72157622564699033/

While the community preferred option for protecting our Bull Run water from the flawed LT2 regulation has always been a legislated or administrative waiver for both source water and the open reservoirs ( Feb 6, 2008 FOR letter to Commissioner Leonard), options that would provide permanent relief, we are pleased that the Commissioner is taking this step. And we are grateful to Senator Merkley who has been working with the EPA to protect our source water and preserve the use of our open reservoirs.

Now let's work on addressing the flaws of the EPA's source water variance plan.

You can count on much more to come.

Regards,

Floy Jones
*********************

Floy,

We recently met with Pete Silva, EPA Assistant Administrator for Water, who was in Portland to attend a conference of state drinking water regulators. At Senator Merkley's request, he took some time out from that meeting to meet with us to get a briefing on our system and why we think it is unique and warrants a variance from the provisions of LT2.

As a follow-up to that meeting we have communicated to the EPA our desire to obtain a variance for the open reservoirs and have requested ".clear written guidance." from EPA regarding our intent to obtain a variance.

That communication occurred after our response below, so I am including it as an addendum to our response to your request for information about communications with the EPA with regard to securing an open reservoir variance or administrative waiver.

David Shaff, Administrator
Portland Water Bureau
Download PDFEPA Peter Silva.pdf


September 2, 2009 FOTR Request for City to negotiate an agreement with the EPA prior to the start of any "variance" sampling.
 
Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners
1120 SW Fifth Ave
Portland, Oregon 97204-1926
  
RE: LT2 Source Water Sampling/ Open Reservoir Variance
 
Dear Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners,
 
 We are writing in support of the City Council's expressed commitment to work hard on alternatives to the extremely costly LT2 requirements ($1 billion with debt service) that will degrade our system, create new, unnecessary risks to our drinking water and provide no measurable public health benefit. We believe that it is imperative that the City Council immediately act to 1) address major problems with the EPA source water "variance" sampling program slated to begin in the next few weeks and 2) actively seek an open reservoir variance, an option now being pursued by New York for its Hillview reservoir. Senator Merkley's office is working on both of these issues, but independent City Council action is also necessary.
 
As you will recall, the EPA arbitrarily changed the source water "variance" testing parameters in May 2009.  The EPA took this action after nearly 17 months of negotiation. The EPA alterations in the sampling requirements significantly increased the chance that Portland's pristine Bull Run water will be wrongly characterized as less safe than it actually is. As a consequence Portland would be forced into unnecessary LT2 build projects that would yield no measurable public health benefit, but rather would create new risks to our drinking water.
 
 Accordingly, the Council must immediately require the Water Bureau to negotiate an agreement with the EPA, prior to the start of any "variance" sampling, whereby the source water sampling occurs at the intake to our treatment facility not out in the tributaries[1]. Moreover, the agreement must specify a sampling method that identifies speciation or genotyping of all Crypto oocysts detected.  This is imperative because the species known to be infectious to humans, those from cows and humans are not likely to be present in our Bull Run water.  However, with EPA's proposed sampling method other, non-infectious Crypto might be found. An acceptable sampling method would also determine the viability of any oocyst identified.  New scientific research contradicts the public health benefits of the " risk assessment framework underlying LT2ESWTR, based solely on FITC ?positive oocysts with no speciation or genotyping.."[2]
 
 As we testified at the Council session in July, the Portland Water Bureau recently completed its participation in the AwwarF Project 3021, "Detection of Infectious Cryptosporidium in Filtered Drinking Water" study where high volumes of our finished drinking water (water served to customers) was tested at the outlet of the open reservoirs. Absolutely zero Cryptosporidium was detected.   The preliminary report, which we obtained in August by a document request, is attached.[3]
 
The November 2008 preliminary report reveals the significant flaws in EPA's LT2 and the associated testing method utilized by EPA. (The sampling method used by the AwwarF 3021 researchers is a modification of EPA's 1623, HCT-8 cell culture followed by immunofluorescence microscopy.)    The report states, "The condition of the oocysts is also very important in determining the risk of infection. Oocysts are exposed to many conditions in the environment that can reduce their infectivity before entering a water treatment plant. The length of time post-shedding from the carriage animal, water temperature, and the amount of ultraviolet (UV) exposure from sunlight can reduce oocyst infectivity."[4] The study references other new studies that establish the benefits of natural UV from sunlight on Cryptosporidium oocysts.  For over 100 years our water system has demonstrated that from forest to faucet natural sunlight purifies our water without the cancer-causing nitrification that can occur in buried and covered tanks.
 
This last winter the Portland Water Bureau staff acknowledged that new Crypto research vitiated the LT2 rule, but admitted that by the time EPA corrects its mistakes all of the treatment plants will be built.  This staff statement was made to show why the community should not blame the LT2 rule negotiators[5]-because they didn't have the benefit of the new science. However, it has always been clear that public health problems only occurred in filtered systems, and then only when human and cow sewage was allowed into their drinking water.
 
Therefore, the City must apply for a variance for the open reservoirs and work with our congressional delegation as they seek other alternatives. The City can no longer maintain that a "variance" for the open reservoirs is not possible and only work to construct buried tanks. We know 1) a variance is allowed by statute as confirmed by the Foley Hoag law firm; 2) New York is seeking a open reservoir variance; 3) EPA has only documented public health issues, death and illness, with buried and covered storage; 4) LT2 contained no data or science to support the open reservoir requirement; 5) new scientific research including AwwarF 3021 supports a reservoir variance; 6) the cost of reservoir burial projects are significant, $403 million ($800 with debt service); 7) burying the open reservoirs creates new unnecessary risks of radon venting in eastside homes and the loss of sunlight will lead to the risk of cancer causing nitrification[6].
 
Please remember that many community groups including but not limited to large water users, other businesses and business associations, environmental groups, democracy groups, numerous neighborhood associations and neighborhood coalitions as well as Bull Run advocacy groups have communicated their strong support for protecting our open reservoirs and Bull Run source water from the onerous and scientifically unsupported LT2 requirements.   
 
As always we stand ready to assist the City in any way possible in the effort to secure viable LT2 alternatives that will protect both our Bull Run water and the pocketbooks of citizens.
 
Sincerely,
 
Floy Jones On behalf of The Friends of the Reservoirs 
 
Cc Interested parties

[1] Historically source water testing has always been done at the intake of the treatment plant
[2] Pg. 5 preliminary report AwwarF 3021 WQTC conference November 2008
[3] Portland volunteered in February 2008 to participate in this American Water Works Association Research Foundation Infectious Cryptosporidium study. Portland was the only unfiltered system in the study. High volumes of finished drinking water (300L) were sampled twice per month for an entire year that ended last May.
[4] AwwrF 3021 preliminary report was presented at an American Water Works Association conference November 2008.   The study references  new studies that address the benefits of natural sunlight on Cryptosporidium oocysts.
[5] Portland Water Bureau and their consultant Montgomery, Watson, Harza played a significant role in negotiating LT2
[6] See EPA's http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf.

Oct 2, 2009

Scott Fernandez's letter explains how further treatment of Bull Run Water will have negative effects, and is not needed.

July 29, 2009
To: Portland City Council- LT2 Treatment Review

From: Scott Fernandez, M.Sc. Biology/Microbiology
Portland Utility Review Board 2001-2008
City of Portland Water Quality Advisory Committee 1996-2000

We are a nation searching for a sensible public health care program. Public health begins with clean Bull Run water free of carcinogenic and toxic chemicals. Bull Run disinfectant byproducts are already well below new EPA standards. We use minimal amounts of chlorine and ammonia to maintain distribution system disinfection residual. Other drinking water utilities have to use the treatments we are now forced to choose from, because they have exposure to sewage and substantial contaminants. We have neither sewage or substantial contaminants in our organic Bull Run drinking water.

The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) asserts the toxic and carcinogenic chemicals we will be forced to introduce into our future drinking water are “just chemicals”. We are not only concerned about the immediate toxic effect, but also the physiologically cumulative and environmental effects of these unnecessary chemicals. What about the children of all ages, and the effect on pregnant women? EPA drinking water chemical toxicity standards are based on a ~150 lb. person. (1)

For the unborn at a critical time when organs, vessels, membranes, and systems are knit together from single cells, the umbilical cord can carry not only the building blocks of life, but a steady stream of industrial chemicals. In a recent study, of 287 chemicals detected in umbilical cord blood, 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests. The dangers of pre-or-post natal exposure to this complex mixture of carcinogens, developmental toxins and neurotoxins have never been studied. The negative effect of chemicals on developing children is much more than adults. Industrial chemicals that interrupt this intricate process can at high levels wreak havoc in the form of severe birth defects. At lower levels they can cause subtle but important changes in development that surface later in childhood as learning or behavioral problems or in adulthood in the form of certain cancers or perhaps neurogenative disease. EPA has concluded after a review of 23 studies of early life exposures to cancer causing chemicals that carcinogens average 10 times the potency for babies than adults, and some chemicals are up to 65 times more powerful. EPA targets only cancer, leaving unknown, children’s vulnerability to chemicals that damage the immune system, brain, hormone system, kidney, liver, thyroid or a host of other potential targets unknown. Even though plenty of evidence says that children face higher risks for harm. (2, 3, 4)

Chemical exposures in the womb or during infancy can be dramatically more harmful than exposures later in life. These risks are amplified because:
A child’s chemical exposures are greater pound for pound than those of adults.
An immature, porous blood-brain barrier allows greater chemical exposures to a developing brain.
Children have lower levels of some chemical binding proteins allowing more of a chemical to reach target organs.
Embryonic cells in brain lack DNA repair enzymes.
A baby’s organs and systems are rapidly developing, and thus more vulnerable to damage to chemical exposure.
Systems that detoxify and excrete chemicals are not fully developed.
The longer future life span of a child compared to an adult allowing more time for adverse effects to arise. (2,3)

Cancer incidence has steadily increased over the decades for many forms of disease including breast, testicular, and prostate. The incidence of childhood cancer increased by 27% between 1975 and 2002 with the sharpest rise estimated for brain and nervous system cancers, 56% increase and acute lymphatic leukemia 68% increase. (2, 5)


Public health risks – New chemicals added to Bull Run water

Filtration – Filtration processes use chemicals known as coagulants.

Examples:
Metallic sulfates and oxides-
Cationic polymers-
Anionic polymers-

Each toxic coagulant class has links to cancer and negative health effects such as: blood and neurologic disorders, breast, uterine cancer, etc. Coagulants can enter drinking water distribution system and be consumed. (6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11)

Ozone- Ozone is a chemical oxidant, reacting with natural particulate matter breaking chemical bonds. Ozone has been marketed as harmlessly releasing oxygen as its byproduct. Ozone generates many known carcinogenic and toxic byproducts as well as unknown chemicals during its reaction process. The chemical breakdown products increase Assimilable Organic Carbon (AOC) into water adding nutrient for microbial growth in distribution system, necessitating increased chlorine treatment.

Examples: Reactions for natural organic matter in surface water, degrading important public health antioxidants: (12, 13, 14)

Aldehydes, formaldehyde, peroxides – carcinogenic, ingestion, inhalation
Hypobromus acid, cyanogens bromides, brominated organics, bromate ion, bromamines- if present
Organic acids, aldo and keto-acids, carboxylic acids

Chlorine Dioxide-
Chlorine dioxide rapidly decomposes into chlorite, chlorate, chloride ions in water. Sodium chlorite is also registered as a pesticide with EPA.

Chlorite- primary and most consistent finding from chlorite exposure is changes in red blood cells. Infants and young children who drink water containing chlorite in excess of EPA standard could experience nervous system effects. Similar effects may occur in fetuses of pregnant women who drink water containing chlorite in excess of EPA standard.
Chlorate- primary and most consistent finding from chlorate exposure is changes in red blood cells. (15)

UV radiation-
Ultraviolet radiation is generated by mercury lamps. With UV radiation, chemical bonds are disrupted or broken. Effective disinfection can occur if there is a water pre-treatment system in place to remove day to day occurrences of natural surface water suspended materials or particles. Natural particles in surface water can shield microorganisms from UV light allowing them to pass through unharmed.(see below) The existence, cost, and added disinfection by-products of this pre-treatment process necessary for UV to be functional, have been left out of the PWB UV discussion. The day to day suspended materials cannot be managed by use of our well field as the PWB asserts. We know of no US surface water UV treatment plant that is without a pre-treatment system in place. PWB refers to a New York plant as a future example, but PWB leaves out the fact that NY is dumping ~16,000 tons of aluminum sulfate at a time in their reservoirs, to reduce suspended materials. This is in violation of Clean Water Act and an environmental catastrophe.

UV disinfectant by- products from natural materials in surface water: aldehydes, formaldehyde, and ozone, etc. (16, 17, 18)

Mercury from UV bulbs- Portland Water Bureau UV pilot plant has history of UV bulb breakage and sleeve breakage. Mercury is toxic to developing brains and exposure in the womb can cause learning deficiencies and delay mental development in children. Mercury can alter nervous system, immune, reproductive, and kidney function. (19, 20)

Teflon coated UV bulb sleeves- PFOA is a synthetically produced chemical used in manufacture of Teflon. PFOA causes testicular, breast, and pancreatic tumors in animals. PFOA has been linked to increased cholesterol, stroke, and prostate cancer in exposed workers. (2)

Granulated Activated Carbon- GAC is made primarily from coal and sometimes wood. This process is not an absolute barrier to contaminants. Highly soluble chemicals can pass through along with the water being treated. Alcohols, glycols, acetones, formaldehyde, are not readily adsorbed because the forces keeping them in solution are strong. Saturation of binding sites can also allow contaminants to pass through. “Channeling” occurs when water forms a path that flows between carbon particles in GAC allowing passage of contaminants.
Summary- All these treatments negatively impact the natural body of Bull Run water by removing anti-oxidants: carotenoids, tannins, flavenoids, etc. They also eliminate public health benefits from natural antigenic exposures, and their protective immunity imbedded in organic Bull Run water. We do not need any added disinfection processes. Please seek legislative relief……now.

“What happened in Milwaukee, Wisconsin was a failure of a water treatment and sewage treatment system that allowed sewage to get into a drinking water system. That’s not possible in the Bull Run. The Bull Run is 35 miles away from Portland, it’s in a protected watershed where human entry is prohibited.’

Dave Shaff – Portland Water Bureau Director

Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2007

Source: Tchobanoglous, 1997.

Figure 8-4. Particle Interactions that Impact UV Effectiveness

References
EPA – Setting Standards for Safe Drinking Water - 2006
Pollution in Newborns - Environmental Working Group- July 2005
EPA – Supplemental Guidance for Assessing Susceptibility from Early Life Exposures to Carcinogens. 2005
Toxic Chemicals in Children’s Bath Products Triggers International Outcry.
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. March 2009
National Cancer Institute, SEER (Surveillance Epidemiology End Results).2005
Aluminum in Breast Tissue; A possible Factor in Cause of Breast Cancer. Science Daily. 2007. Re: Dr. Chris Exley, Birchall Centre for Inorganic Chemistry, Journal of Inorganic Chemistry.
Present Conditions of Water Storage-Filter Media- Aquatech Diving Services. 2002
Metalloestrogens: An Emerging Class of Inorganic Xenoestrogens with Potential to Add to the Oestrogenic Burden of the Human Breast. Journal of Applied Toxicology. Volume 26 Issue 3 pages 191-197
Relation between Aluminum Concentrations in Drinking Water and Alzheimers Disease: An 8 year Follow –Up Study. Virginie Roneau, Daniel Commenges, et al, American Journal of Epidemiology. 2000. Vol 152, No.1: pages 59-66
Aluminum and Silica in Drinking Water and the Risk of Alzheimers Disease or Cognitive Decline: Findings From 15 Year Follow-Up of the PAQUID Cohort . Virginie Rondeau, Helene Jaquim-Gadda, et al, American Journal of Epidemiology. 2008. Vol 169,No. 4, pages 489-496
EPA – Ground and Drinking Water Consumer Factsheet –Acrylamide, Epichlorhydrin polymers, drinking water coagulants, effects on health.
EPA Guidance Manual- Alternative Disinfectants and Oxidants - 1999
Effects of Ozone and Oxygen on the Degradation of Carotenoids in an Aqueous Model. L.K. Henry, N.L. Nienaber, N.L. Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry. 2000. 48(10) pages 5008-13
Formaldehyde Formation During Ozonation of Drinking Water. S. Can, Mirat Gurol. Ozone Science and Engineering. 2003. Vol. 25,No. 1 pages 41-51
EPA-Drinking Water Contaminants- Chlorite. Updated July 2009
EPA-HQ-OW-2002-0039-0427
Alternatives to Chlorine Disinfection at Fort Bragg, NC, Drinking Water Plant. US Army. Public Works Technical Bulletin 200-1-63. January 1, 2009.
EPA UV Disinfection Guidance Manual. November 2006
Portland Utility Review Board minutes. March 18, 2004.
Center for Disease Control- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry-Tox-FAQs for Mercury. September 11, 2007

September 29, 2009

Don't let the EPA lower the quality of Portland's drinking water by Brad Yazzolino at The Stump

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/09/dont_let_the_epa_lower_the_qua.html

Aug 3, 2009

At least 21 organizations and community representatives  have written to the Congressional delegation seeking their immediate help in securing a congressionally legislated LT2 waiver avoiding the need to bury (cover, or additionally treat) our open reservoirs ($403 million) and build an additional Bull Run treatment plant ($99 million for UV radiation).    

Friends of the Reservoirs

Oregon Wild 

Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association
 
South Tabor Neighborhood Association
 
Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association
 
 State Representative Ben Cannon
 
 Neighbors West/ Northwest Coalition of Neighborhoods (representing 10 neighborhoods)
 
Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Coalition (representing 20 neighborhoods)
 
PSU Capstone Water Quality class- 2008 Winter Term studying LT2/ Bull Run
 
Southeast Uplift Liveability Committee
 
Hosford-Abernathy Neighborhood Association Chair, Sustainability Comm. Chair
 
 Portland Utility Review Board Chairs Paulette Rossi and Frank Ray (past chair)
 
Mill Park Neighborhood Association
 
Rock Bottom Brewery
 
Eastside Democrats
 
Alliance for Democracy- Portland Chapter
 
Pleasant Valley Neighborhood Association
 
Alsco American Linen
 
Hopworks Brewery
 
Richmond Neighborhood Association
 
Craft Brewer’s Alliance
Widmer Brothers Brewery

July 30, 2009

City Council voted yesterday, for a 99 million dollar UV treatment plant.

Now we must write our Congresspeople, and insist on getting legislative, or other relief, from this unjust law. More to come.

Mt. Tabor Park Centennial Celebration 1909-2009 August 1 & 2

Editorial
Keep Bull Run water as it is

The Portland Tribune, Jul 30, 2009

http://www.portlandtribune.com/opinion/story.php?story_id=124890456174129600

Don't force Portland to treat its water
by Editorial Board, The Oregonian
Wednesday July 29, 2009, 6:57 AM

http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2009/07/dont_force_portland_to_treat_i.html

Expensive water treatment options divide Portland City Council
by Mark Larabee and Janie Har, The Oregonian
Monday July 27, 2009, 6:15 PM

http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2009/07/expensive_water_treatment_opti.htm

Tuesday July 28, 2009

Thank you for going to the City Council Meeting

More information: from The Portland Tribune:

http://www.portlandtribune.com/news/story_2nd.php?story_id=124875430458958200

Youtube video by RaindropPDX

Portland Oregon's Bull Run Watershed Vs. EPA's LT2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTTD2qfVVaQ

 

Sunday July 26, 2009 6pm

THE FUTURE OF YOUR DRINKING WATER IS AT STAKE ON WEDNESDAY JULY 29 AT 10 A.M.
THE PORTLAND WATER BUREAU AND THEIR POWERFUL ASSOCIATES CONTINUE TO PUSH HARD FOR AN EXPENSIVE BULL RUN FILTRATION PLANT THAT WILL ADD MORE CHEMICALS AND CREATE MANY MORE RISKS.

RISKS INCLUDE OPENING UP THE WATERSHED, GIVING AWAY OWNERSHIP OF BULL RUN SYSTEM, AND BLENDING BULL RUN WITH TOXIC WILLAMETTE AND COLUMBIA RIVER WATER.  WITH FILTRATION COMES BACKWASHING, SLUDGE REMOVAL AND DUMPING, SLUDGE REMOVAL COSTS, INCREASED STAFF AND RELATED COSTS, INCREASED RISK OF OPERATOR ERROR

We need YOU to come to City Council on Wednesday, July 29 at 10 a.m. to speak out against selecting a filtration plant as the LT2 compliance option and speak in support of  alternative compliance.  Legislated watershed protections are in place precisely so we can avoid building a filtration plant and the degradation of our water that comes with adding chemicals on top of chemicals on top of chemicals.  (Portland meets the federal criteria for filtration avoidance, something we are very proud of) 

This is the defining moment.  Will Bull Run water continue to be "the best from forest to faucet" or will the PWB force an unnecessary filtration plant, adding unnecessary chemicals, unnecessary costs, creating massive additional debt (much of the PWB budget is debt service), doubling your water bill in four years, adding new risks to the watershed and ultimately to our water, allowing the wholesale customers to become Bull Run owners as discussed in recent PWB/ wholesale customer closed-door meetings and outlined in the PWB/ Montgomery, Watson Harza Global document   Regional Transmission and Storage Strategy - (Regional Water Providers Consortium.) http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=91392 . See page 6-2 Inter Gov. Agency Cooperative Agreement/ NO PUBLIC VOTE (recommended option) that would allow ownership to transfer and private company to operate, this same document supports blending Bull Run water with the toxic river water from the Columbia or Willamette.) 

HOW YOU CAN HELP
Alert others, anyone who cares about protecting and preserving our pure Bull Run water. This is the most critical action with regard to the future of our Bull Run water.

1) Write to City Council now.  It is important that you write to the Mayor and City Commissioners and their staff  now and say NO to a filtration plant. Tell them you do not want the taste of your water to change and you do not want chemicals added to your water. Tell them you do not want any other entity to own Bull Run. Tell them to vigorously pursue protective legislation such that all of the ills of an additional Bull Run treatment plant can be avoided. Tell them that you want your water to stay naturally pure, unfiltered, inexpensively available  and sustainably safe, as it has been for over a hundred years, with our present Bull Run system.

2) Attend the City Council meeting at City Hall on July 29 at 10 a.m. Bring 8 copies of any written testimony or information (for the record and to hold the city council accountable), note on the top of the document(s), Council Agenda Item 1071   Tell Council to uphold their commitment to support a legislative option (more on this later) and not thwart community will.

Sam Adams samadams@ci.portland.or.us

Tom Miller Tom.Miller@ci.portland.or.us

Catherine Ciarlo cciarlo@portland.ci.or.us

Randy Leonard rleonard@ci.portland.or.us

Ty Kovatch tkovatch@ci.portland.or.us

Amanda Fritz amanda@ci.portland.or.us

Tim Crail tim.crail@ci.portland.or.us

Tom Bizeau tom.bizeau@ci.portland.or.us

Nick Fish nick@ci.portland.or.us

Sam Chase Sam.chase@ci.portland.or.us

George Hocker George.Hocker@ci.portland.or.us

Dan Saltzman dansaltzman@ci.portland.or.us

Grumm, Matt mgrumm@ci.portland.or.us 

3)  Below here read our letter to city council and see the letter from Craft Brewers Alliance 

4) Thank Senator Merkley for his efforts at (503) 326-3386.  He is working on securing an extension for EPA timelines while seeking a sensible plan that would avoid unnecessary costs of treatment (and burying, covering and additionally treating the open reservoirs). Many groups including businesses, neighborhood coalitions, environmental groups and democracy groups have written Senator Merkley in support of legislating alternatives that will allow us to retain our open reservoirs and protect our source water from the unnecessary degradation of these LT2 projects.

Don't let big money, big bureau construction plans and big budgets undercut citizen involvement, double water rates and rob us of our pure Bull Run water!

If you love Portland's pure water and want to protect it, please act now to help us  keep it naturally pure, unfiltered, inexpensively available and sustainably safe, as it has been for over a hundred years, with our present Bull Run open reservoir system.

Saturday July 25. 2009

EPA TO RUIN PORTLAND"S WATER with help from City Council

WAKE UP PORTLAND!

A "yes" vote in CITY COUNCIL THIS WEDNESDAY on item 1071 will raise Portland's water rates over and over for decades to come, and destroy Portland's extraordinarily clean water. It moves us closer to full privatization of Portland's water system by ruthless multinationals. Please attend, and speak at this meeting. Council is rushing this through before the people notice what it will cost. 380 million plus interest on that debt for decades. All for no health benefit, no water quality benefit. Our water will be degraded, forever after.

If you love Portland's pure water, as do our craft beer makers and so many others, help us to keep it, naturally pure, unfiltered, inexpensively available to Portlanders, and sustainably safe, as it has been for over a hundred years, with our present Bull Run open reservoir system.

It's only natural that Portland of all cities, should be drinking unfiltered, super clean rainwater, from our remote, no-human-entry watershed. The one set aside for Portland by US Presidential decree in 1892. The revolving-door EPA and the water industry hate the fact that Portland doesn't pay them perpetually for water infrastructure like almost every other city, so they are trying to force us.

So, this wednesday, at 10am (it's not a "time certain") during a 100 degree heatwave, City Council seems likely to tragically vote to spend 380 million dollars (and more) to prematurely begin "compliance" with the flawed LT2 law, (written for, and by, the water industry) A law that most agree is not based on science, a law that will not make Portland's water any better, and a law that is foolishly mis-applied to Portland's local, sustainably green, and proven-safe watershed.

City Council's historic vote on the Water Bureau's costly filtration plant proposal will happen this wednesday July 29, 10 am. Let them know what you think.

(For updates: Check the Portland Council Agenda at Portland Online http://www.portlandonline.com/Auditor/index.cfm?c=26997)

July 22, 2009

Although this is vacation season, please plan on attending this very important Council session and please write to City Council now if you have not already done so telling them that they should not chose filtration as the LT2 treatment technology. You may copy any of our material in support of arguing against a Bull Run filtration plant.  We cannot let the big powerful money interests control our water. 

Premature City Council Action Now Will Endanger Portland's Water Quality Forever

Much effort has been devoted over the last 7-8 months to securing letters to the Congressional delegation asking that they pursue legislation deeming Portland compliant with LT2, relieving us from the unsupported LT2 requirements. Over 20 groups and organizations including numerous neighborhood associations have formally written to the delegation requesting legislative relief from both the requirement to bury, cover or additionally treat Portland's open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park and from the requirement that would force Portland to unnecessarily construct an additional Bull Run treatment plant. 
 
Now, once again, in consistent Water Bureau fashion, the Water Bureau is forcing the community (and a new City Council) to act fast (or forever lose our pure, clean Bull Run water) to counter the work of the PWB cozy consultant, Montgomery, Watson, Harza ( MWH-led Bull Run Treatment Panel and the MWH  LT2 negotiation contract) and the their associates corporate and other.
 
We think you will appreciate the letter below from the Craft Brewers Alliance. Please get your letters into City Council this week. Say no to a Bull Run filtration plant and all of the ills that come along with it.
 
The Craft Brewers Alliance Letter Opposes New Water Treatment
 
July 15, 2009
 
Commissioner Dan Saltzman
Portland City Hall
1221 SW 4th Ave.
Portland, OR.  97204
 
Dear Commissioner Saltzman:
 
I am writing to you to ask for your immediate help in securing a congressionally legislated waiver deeming Portland compliant with the requirements of the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2), thus avoiding the need to bury our open reservoirs and build an additional Bull Run treatment plant. 
 
While I am sure that you will receive many, many letters opposing this deeply troubling project, I believe our petition to be somewhat unique:
 
Widmer Brewing, now part of Craft Brewers Alliance, was founded in Portland in 1984. And we’re still making beer here in Portland; we’ll brew about 10 million gallons of beer in Portland this year. And Portland is a truly great beer town – recognized as the birthplace of the American brewing Renaissance, and known at one time as “Munich on the Willamette.” Simply put, Portland breweries make great beer.
 
And beer is roughly 95% water. The same pristine water supply which you are presently discussing filtering, chemically treating and ultimately altering in ways we don’t completely understand is the very foundation and soul of the great beer that has placed Portland on the map as one of the outstanding brewing cities in the world.
 
We are further a large customer. We expect to use 40 million gallons of pure clean Bull Run water this year, and to pay $100,000 for the water alone. The proposed cost increases would double this annual cost over the next five years.
 
As a business navigating through economically difficult times, we can and do assert that this is simply the wrong use of however many hundreds of millions of dollars are being proposed to make Portland’s water supply LT2 compliant. And we can and do assert that the increased cost to us will be burdensome, and that it is in our objective assessment completely unnecessary. 
 
 
However, our strongest argument in opposition is that this proposed treatment system will - completely unnecessarily in our opinion – change the beer that has made Portland famous.
 
We believe in the strongest possible way that the City of Portland should push for an EPA waiver or a Congressional legislative solution.  We have a federally protected watershed and one of the purest water supplies in the world, and not one example of cryptosporidium being present in any significant detectable result. We’re proud of that and we don’t want to change it.
 
At the very least, the City should advocate for one of the solutions with the lowest cost and lowest water quality impact. If you must treat, consider UV treatment or Ozonation - neither of which raises the same grave concerns for the beer that made Portland famous.
 
 
 
Sincerely,
                  
Sebastian Pastore                            Kurt Widmer     Rob Widmer
VP, Brewing Operations                  Founder             Founder
 
Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.        Widmer Brothers Brewing Co.
Craft Brewers Alliance                     Craft Brewers Alliance
Portland Oregon                                Portland Oregon
  
cc:       The Honorable Senator Ron Wyden
            The Honorable Senator Jeff Merkley
            The Honorable Congressman Earl Blumenauer
            The Honorable Congressman David Wu
            The Honorable Congressman Greg Walden

It looks as though City Council will vote on the Water Bureau's costly filtration plant proposal possibly on wednesday July 29th. (Check Council Agenda at Portland Online) Although this is vacation season, please plan on attending this very important Council session and please write to City Council now if you have not already done so telling them that they should not chose filtration as the LT2 treatment technology. You may copy any of our material in support of arguing against a Bull Run filtration plant.  We cannot let the big powerful money interests control our water. 
For a quick summary of all this---please visit http://www.oregonwild.org/waters/bull_run/bull-run-and-the-lt2-rule 


Friends Of Reservoirs letter of July 19, 2009

RE: LT2 Bull Run Treatment Technology
 
Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners
1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 601
Portland, Oregon 97204-1926
 
Dear Mayor Sam Adams and City Commissioners,
 
First and foremost the Friends of the Reservoirs (FOR) support alternative compliance strategies to address the onerous and unsupported LT2 “treatment technique” requirements. Construction of an additional Bull Run treatment plant will provide no measurable public health benefit, degrade our system, create many new risks to our Bull Run watershed, result in significant annual rate increases, and add significant new debt to an already debt-laden Water Bureau.  Construction of an additional Bull Run treatment plant will start a never-ending 25-30-year treatment plant build cycle. Any new treatment plant will add to the City’s carbon footprint.
 
In that Senator Jeff Merkley is working on securing an LT2 compliance extension, we urge City Council not to rush this treatment technology decision.
 
Barring success in achieving alternative LT2 compliance, the FOR supports lower cost, lower risk compliance options such as UV or ozone (or chlorine dioxide), options more likely to address future regulations. We oppose building a filtration plant.
 
Filtration
Filtration capital-only costs are excessive at $770 million (with debt service) resulting in unsustainable and indefinite 20% annual rate increases on top of past increases, including this year’s 18% base charge increase and 18% volume rate increase. 
 
Water purity has historically been and remains a strong community value[1]. Introducing new costly and unnecessary toxic chemicals, acrylamide, alum, iron salts, and other polymers and negatively altering the taste and composition of our water are contrary to long-standing community values. Alum (or acrylamide) alone is a cause of concern for many. Citizens worked hard to keep their water pure and with minimal treatment. Filtration, with associated chemicals, takes us in the wrong direction.
 
With filtration there will be more chemicals to store and extract from the water. Chemical sludge storage and disposal will be an issue as well as the associated generation of dump truck traffic.
 
 Montgomery, Watson, Harza Global (MWH), employer of former PWB official, Joe Glicker has pushed for a Bull Run filtration plant for 20 years. MWH, via a 4-year consultant contract controlled and thus tainted the 2001/02 Bull Run Treatment Panel process.[2] MWH led this panel and all related “public processes” while concurrently negotiating the flawed EPA LT2 rule now forcing unnecessary corporate-benefiting construction.[3]
 
Contrary to Portland Water Bureau (consultant) projections of supply/demand, water use and water demand has steadily and consistently declined over the last 23 years while the service area population increased by nearly 300,000. Climate change has not resulted in less rainfall. Large water users left town and some wholesale customers developed new water sources[4].  Drinking water supply augmentation (cited by the Bureau as a benefit of filtration) is needed at relatively few times of the year.
 
 The risk of a catastrophic fire in the Bull Run watershed has recently been used to scare people into building a filtration plant.  That risk has been considered so remote that many of the community-suggested additional fire prevention measures were deemed unnecessary. Conversely, most catastrophic fires lead to shutdowns of filtration plants.  Maintaining existing closures to human entry is the single most important thing that we can do to prevent a catastrophic fire. The largest and most devastating fires in the Bull Run watershed subsequent to human settlement were fires ignited by humans.
 
 
If a catastrophic event ever occurs, Portland has multiple back up wells in east Multnomah County, including the newly acquired (2006) Powell Valley wells. Huge costs were incurred in building and cleaning up the existing well field so that it could reliably serve as a back up when needed.  Additional back up supplies through linkage of several municipal distribution systems (considered secret top-security and thus not revealed to the public) also exist and/or are being constructed. Construction of a variable-level intake structure was planned to provide water for fish and to augment drinking water supplies.  How much more money do we need to spend on back up systems?
 
  The costs of filtration may actually drive businesses to leave Portland (see letter from ALSCO LINEN), leaving fewer entities to foot the bill for capital and annual expenses of a filtration plant.
 
The evidence does not support the argument that construction of a filtration plant anticipates any future additional one-size-fits-all regulations. In fact, filtration cannot address pharmaceuticals, the most likely target of future regulations.[5]   The combination of UV with other treatments (like ozone, for example) could do so. It makes more sense (if forced to build) to build an ozone or UV plant and add-on as necessary, rather than pay four times the cost with construction of a filtration plant and then be forced to add UVplus later.  (This is one reason why we have fought so hard for legislative relief.  Why should Portland be forced to treat for Crypto infectious to humans, not present in our watershed, or pharmaceuticals, not present in our watershed?  Those who planned our system over one hundred years ago knew the risks of human entry in a drinking watershed of this importance.  Then the risks were cholera, typhoid and fire. Today they are Crypto, pharmaceuticals, carcinogenic chemicals, invasive species, etc. If we maintain and perhaps enhance these unique protections, Portland should be relieved of the burden of building additional treatment facilities designed to protect humans drinking from contaminated and polluted watersheds.)
 
 
 
Ownership
At the end of the Council work session in June, mention was briefly made of sharing ownership of proposed treatment facilities with other municipalities.  While on first blush that seems a reasonable proposal, commissioners should remember that these entities are the very same ones that regularly promote using the polluted Willamette and/or the Columbia rivers as sources of supply for the City of Portland and the region. 
 
These water providers have demonstrated over and over again that they care about water quantity - not water quality. Their priorities do not match those of Portland residents or previous Councils, as reflected in Council resolutions. The regional/ corporate vision of blending of Bull Run water with highly polluted river sources (i.e. the Willamette and Columbia rivers) as outlined in the MWH Regional Transmission and Storage Strategy document has no community support and can only occur with a filtration plant in place.
 
Relinquishing Portland’s historical sole ownership of Bull Run water supply and related facilities should not be considered. The current back room ownership negotiations with wholesale customers should be terminated.[6]
 
Also, the June 22 wholesale customer letter (Brian Stahl) states that Portland is pursuing an additional treatment plant as opposed to pursuing relief from the LT2 requirements.  The Water Bureau’s LT2 treatment technology resolution should address the City’s commitment to pursue alternatives to LT2.
 
If it becomes necessary to design a treatment plant in order to comply with LT2, we ask that you select a lower cost, lower risk option (UV, ozone or chlorine dioxide) that does not significantly compromise community values, as is the case with a filtration plant. And the City must reaffirm via resolution its support of current as well as enhanced federal protections from human entry, logging and development of Bull Run Watershed. 

 

 
Sincerely,
 
 
Floy E. Jones on behalf of the Friends of the Reservoirs
 

[1]  In an early Montgomery, Watson, Harza consultant contract, the corporation acknowledges that the community value of retaining the purity of Bull Run water is a major obstacle to filtration 
[2]  “Citizens” selected for the 2001/02 MWH led panel includes filtration supporters CH2Mhill (corporation), TVWD Greg Diloretto (wholesale customer interested in Bull Run ownership), the US Forest Service (which fought legislative protections for Bull Run and other domestic water supplies), and an engineer. MWH framed the push-poll survey questions and framed and presented all panel and focus group information.
[3] MWH sat on both sides of the EPA LT2 rule negotiation table with Rhodes Trussell, 32-year MWH CEO on the EPA Science Advisory Board Drinking Water Committee and Joe Glicker, MWH brought to the LT2 table by a PWB consultant contract
[4] TVWD has ownership interest in the MWH built Wilsonville Filtration plant, Gresham developed wells
[5] Pharmaceuticals linked to sewage contamination have been found at the well field. PWB says they will test further and plan for treatment later
[6] In 2006 TVWD negotiated a wholesale contract that cost Portland ratepayers a 1.3% rate increase.  In 2006 TVWD argued that Portland water rates were too high stating that they were going to the Willamette River. Now TVWD’s Greg DiLoretto says they don’t care about high rates, as they will be Bull Run owners.

June 28, 2009

LT2 and Portland’s Open Reservoirs
 
According to EPA, the open reservoir requirements are Cryptosporidium “treatment techniques.”  According to EPA policy, EPA is required to use the best science available in promulgating regulations.
 
The LT2 open reservoir requirements were inserted in the final EPA rule (draft rule- 2003) without any data collection or supportive science. Despite the many years of rule development, EPA failed to collect any data or conduct any scientific research that supported covering or burying open reservoirs.  EPA failed to document a single public health issue with open reservoirs.   And while EPA has documented real public health issues with buried and covered storage there has never been scientific research that compares open and closed distribution system reservoirs.
 
 EPA has documented contamination events and public health issues, illness and deaths ONLY with closed distribution storage as indicated in its 20-page 2002 report, Finished Water Storage Facilities http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf.
 
 Included among the many covered reservoir contamination problems detailed in this EPA report is the Gideon, Mo bird contamination event, a Salmonella outbreak involving buried storage wherein 7 people died and 44% of the population had health impacts. On page 713 of the LT2 regulation EPA referenced this contamination event falsely suggesting that it occurred in open storage.
 
EPA has not promulgated any rule to address the public health issues with buried and covered storage.
 
 As stakeholders (FOR, Oregon Wild, Scott Fernandez, PURB, Large Water Users Coalition, Portland Water Bureau (PWB)) learned in reviewing the LT2 record, the record on open reservoirs is nearly nonexistent. Only a handful of the approximately 700 documents in the LT2 record even mention the words open reservoirs. That handful includes the single 1997 open reservoir study, a study that did not support burying, covering additionally treating open reservoirs. This study, Protozoa in Open Reservoirs by Mark W. LeChevalier involved New Jersey reservoirs that are lake-like reservoirs subject to surface water runoff. Portland’s five open reservoirs are highly engineered structures that are not subject to surface water runoff and are cleaned twice a year.
 
  Although the researcher, LeChevalier, detected some oocysts in these New Jersey lake-like reservoirs, he states upfront that the analytical method used “does not permit assessment of the organisms public health significance. Nearly all of the cysts and oocysts were empty or contained indiscernible internal structures, suggesting the health risk is low.”  He emphasizes the importance of developing methods to “accurately identify waterborne oocysts” and “accurately assess their viability and infectivity.” EPA’s current approved sample method cannot determine if the oocysts are dead (harmless) or alive (viable) nor if they are of a harmful genotype, infectious to humans (from humans or cows). EPA’s HV1623 does not identify the genotype or assess the viability of oocysts.
 
The LeChevalier New Jersey study concludes by saying that burying or covering reservoirs is problematic, with the covers themselves being a problem, as is well documented in another report, a 50-page California Department of Health Services Drinking Water Program report, Sanitary Assessment of Flexible-Membrane Floating Covers for Domestic Water Reservoirs. The LeChevalier study additionally references nitrification problems that occur in large, chloraminated covered reservoirs (i.e. 50 mg. tanks) with the exclusion of sunlight aiding the growth of nitrifying bacteria.
 
 Years ago, EPA regulation commenters correctly stated that EPA would (must) collect data and conduct scientific research before promulgating any rule on open reservoirs. Between 1997 and 2006 when the final rule was released, EPA failed to collect any data or conduct any scientific research on open reservoirs.
 
The 2003 draft LT2 rule included a mitigation option allowing for open reservoirs. In the final rule (January 2006), EPA had without notice or opportunity for public comment inexplicably omitted the mitigation option, despite the lack of data collection or any scientific evidence to support the insertion of an open reservoir requirement in the draft rule. As the City of New York commented, no one was provided an opportunity for comment on this critical change.
 
 Open reservoirs safely provide drinking water to tens of millions of customers around the nation. New York is seeking a variance for their large Hillview reservoir. There will be no measurable public health benefit resulting from burying Portland’s open reservoirs.
 
The current costs (capital only) for burial of the open reservoirs as estimated by the PWB are between $400.4 million and $415 million ($800 million with debt service). These costs do no include costs for Mt. Tabor amenities nor for Washington Park amenities. The Water Bureau plans call for retaining the properties at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park for future burial
 
 
 Portland Reservoir Panel
 
  In 2004 a 3-month city-selected 13-member reservoir panel led by a highly paid consultant ($325,000) and chaired by an engineer addressed all perceived problems related to Portland’s open reservoirs.  The panel, meeting for several hours weekly, comprehensively examined all issues including water quality, security, age and condition of the facilities, costs, and historical significance.  The reservoir panel reviewed large volumes of material, literally thousands of pages of documents including The Friends of the Reservoirs 300-page book prepared for the panel.
 
 The reservoir panel did not support burying, covering, or additionally treating the open reservoirs. By ordinance, Council Resolution 36237, Portland City Council subsequently committed to retaining the open reservoirs supporting a mitigation option to address deferred maintenance and enhanced security.
 
The panel was not provided the EPA 2002 report, Finished Water Storage Facilities, http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf., that documents real public health issues as occurring ONLY in buried and covered storage. Stakeholders discovered this 2002 document in 2008.  Also withheld from the panel was the fact that the EPA had failed to collect any data or conduct any scientific research that supported a requirement to bury or cover open reservoirs. The reservoir panel consultant, Mike McGuire and the PWB were aware of this information as McGuire, the panel consultant, was the consultant to the Federal Advisory Committee that negotiated the LT2 regulation and the PWB/MWH actively participated in the rule negotiation.
 
A subsequent review of the Portland Water Bureau/ Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH) LT2 negotiation contract revealed information that the PWB/MWH was aware as stated in documents that there is a “lack of specific identifiable problems uniquely attributable to open reservoirs.”
 
Water Quality
 
 The 2004 reservoir panel comprehensively reviewed all available water quality data including but not limited to information contained in the Montgomery Watson Harza Open Reservoir Water Quality (WQ) Evaluation, tech memo 2.7. The detailed MWH WQ study of Portland’s open reservoirs concluded that there was no degradation of water quality related to the reservoirs.  The Open Reservoir Water Quality report states “it is likely that the open reservoirs will be an important part of the Portland’s water supply for the next 50 years”
 
 Current data available via the State of Oregon Drinking Water Program, data supplied by the PWB, indicates that there are no impacts to water quality related to the open reservoirs. Total Coliforms downstream of the reservoirs are either completely absent or well below the EPA standard. When Total Coliforms are detected anywhere in the system subsequent tests are conducted to determine if Fecal Coliform or E. coli is present. Neither has been detected in our drinking water system.
 
Viruses – From the PWB/ MWH Water Quality Evaluation, “ Due to the limited human access in the watershed and the current compliance with SWTR disinfections requirements, it is highly unlikely that active human viruses could be transmitted in the open reservoirs.”  The potential for virus contamination was discussed in 2008 with Dr. Amy Sullivan and Dr. Gary Oxman of Multnomah Co. Public Health as a part of an LT2 stakeholder meeting.  No one present could identify a virus that posed a significant or unique risk to open reservoirs.
 
Dogs- Dogs are restricted from the reservoir sites at Washington Park. There should be a dog exclusion zone at the Mt. Tabor reservoirs as well.
 
 Friends of the Reservoir proposed a Mt. Tabor dog exclusion zone in 2004 and have continued to promote such to the current PWB administration. The PWB has taken no steps to restrict dogs from the perimeter of the reservoirs.  While water quality data does not indicate that dogs have had a negative impact on Portland’s water quality, action should be taken to restrict dog access around the reservoirs.
 
 Birds- Birds are often found at Reservoir 6 although since the 2006 repair and use of the fountain geyser (operating in the active basin at Res.6) birds now often avoid the drinking water side of the reservoir. If there is a real concern that birds at the open reservoirs may pose a public health threat, then bird wires should be installed.  As documented in PWB/MWH files, bird wires have proven effective at open reservoirs in New York and Seattle, and bird wires were proposed by MWH for eventual installation at the Portland reservoirs.
 
Cryptosporidium- Although EPA has never demonstrated a concern with Cryptosporidium in finished water reservoirs such that they saw fit to conduct scientific research or collect data, Portland independently tested for Cryptosporidium in the open reservoirs in the 1990’s and detected zero Cryptosporidium. See below for details of Portland’s 2008/09 participation in a AwwarF Crypto study wherein ZERO Cryptosporidium were detected in our finished drinking water inclusive of the open reservoirs.
 
The MWH reservoir WQ evaluation states, “it should be noted that no waterborne disease outbreak or water quality incident of public health significance has ever been recorded in connection with Portland’s open reservoirs.”
 
Water Quality benefits of the open reservoirs includes the venting of disinfection by- products, venting of radon found in north Portland, and sunlight preventing nitrification.
 
 POST 2004 RESERVOIR PANEL
 Security and Deferred Maintenance- Significant security improvements and deferred maintenance work has taken place at the reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park in recent years (2005-2009).
 Tens of millions of dollars have been spent on maintenance and security at the Washington Park reservoirs in recent years. New piping, new security equipment including additional cameras, remote control on isolation valves for ease of maintenance, improved lighting, improvements to secure buildings, and a new reservoir liner have been installed. Gate improvements and vehicle access controls
 
 The Washington Park Reservoir 3 perimeter was opened up to the public in 2006.  Commissioner Leonard determined that opening up the Washington Park reservoirs improved security with more eyes and ears protecting the reservoirs. Consequently, the Black and Veatch contract was amended with work and dollar amounts added to accommodate the changes Commissioner Leonard authorized at Washington Park. The changes included installing new ornamental wrought-iron security fencing, constructing a grand new staircase and new pathways. Many testified in support of the plan including Chet Orloff who said “As the chair of the Parks Board and of a committee three years ago that spent long and painful hours developing a still-born plan to cover the historic reservoirs, I am proud to know that Water Bureau staff have created this new plan.”
 
 At Mt. Tabor more than $25 million dollars has been spent on reservoir maintenance and security in the last few years. The fountain geyser at reservoir 6 was restored to operation in 2006. Automated isolation valves and a costly pressure-reducing valve were installed in 2008/09 providing easier shut off for maintenance and in case of an emergency.  This project was scheduled for completion in 2001.  The gatehouse at Reservoir 5 was modified for on site security monitoring and restroom facilities for staff. New vaults.  New infrared motion-sensitive security cameras were installed in early 2009; improved lighting and window and walkway repairs are in the works. Previously, the onsite cameras did not function at night.  New sensor equipment has just been attached to the wrought iron fencing surrounding the reservoirs. New wrought iron access gates are being installed. New card key entry boxes at the gatehouses and other entry points.  A new water supply main was installed. Additional water quality monitoring instrumentation that allows for changes in operations and maintenance.
 
Ratepayers will pay for these projects over the next 20 years. Citizens of Portland value the high quality of our water and the livability of our City as manifest in our grand reservoir system. This investment supports that the reservoirs are significant and integral part of our water supply system.
 
Condition of Reservoirs
The Montgomery Watson Harza/ PWB Reservoir Facilities Evaluation report states that considering their age, the reservoir facilities are generally in good condition and that by addressing the deferred maintenance the reservoirs would be in good shape for the next 50 years. (Pg. 64)
 
As noted above significant deferred maintenance and other improvements have taken place at the reservoirs in the last few years.

In 2008 the Portland Water Bureau contracted with Cascade Design Professionals and historic architect, Robert Dortignacq, to provide expert advice on the condition, maintenance, rehabilitation and preservation of the open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor. This 70-page report was finalized in May 2009 with an overall assessment that the reservoirs were in fair to good shape. This good rating was assessed without consideration of the many maintenance and security enhancements that have taken place in the last year.
 
Water Quality- See Above info addressing Current information
 
New Cryptosporidium Study

In February 2008 the PWB volunteered to participate in an American Water Works Association Research Foundation (AwwaRF) filtered system Cryptosporidium study.   As a part of this study, over the last year ending May 2009, Portland has tested finished drinking water, the water it serves to customers inclusive of the open reservoirs for Cryptosporidium, detecting ZERO Cryptosporidium oocysts.  The AwwaRF study, "Detection of Infectious Cryptosporidium in Filtered Drinking Water (RFP 3021)”, was designed to assess the occurrence of infectious Cryptosporidium oocysts in finished drinking water.  Twelve filtered systems participated in the study. Portland volunteered as an unfiltered system after being contacted by researchers at an industry conference. For this research, Portland sampled high volumes of water, 300L per sample (post reservoirs) twice per month in addition to routinely sampling 50L per month. 
 
  When community stakeholders learned of this study outside of the LT2 stakeholder process, David Shaff, PWB administrator, justified the PWB decision and commitment of more public resources by saying that this study would be of benefit in securing protections for the open reservoirs.
 
 The AwwaRF project summary states that if any Cryptosporidium is detected the samples would be tested to determine if they are infectious. The study researchers indicated that any positive detects would be subject to genotyping, which would indicate if the source was from a harmful species (from cows or humans) or from a harmless source.   PWB updates provided at request throughout the year indicated that the testing was representative of the open reservoirs either at Mt. Tabor or Washington Park. Testing sites varied depending on which reservoirs were offline or out of service for major maintenance improvement projects and security upgrades. The AwwarF study ended in May 2009 with ZERO Cryptosporidium detected in Portland’s finished drinking water.
 
More buried reservoir public health problems-
 
 In 2008 a Colorado public health department documented a buried tank contamination outbreak (Alamosa, Colorado) wherein there was one death and numerous cases of illnesss. Colorado public health concluded their review of the event by saying that maybe now covered tank public health issues would be addressed via regulations. http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/EIP/Presentations/Final.Something%20in%20the%20water!.pdf
 LT2 Record on Open Reservoirs- In 2005 two community members accessed 6 boxes of material related to the PWB/ Montgomery, Watson, Harza LT2 negotiation contract. Hundreds of hours were spent at the PWB reviewing the material related to the LT2 rule negotiation including the LT2 Federal Advisory Committee (FACA) that negotiated and signed on to the Agreement in Principle.  In 2006 two community stakeholders reviewed the bulk of the LT2 official record accessed via the Portland legal case.  No scientific evidence was found in any of the LT2 material to support burying or covering open reservoirs.

5/4/2009

NEW: Please go to our BACKGROUND section to see our research on the Historical Relationship between Montgomery Watson Harza Global, Inc.,  an Additional Bull Run Treatment Plant, Portland’s Open Reservoirs and the EPA’s 2006 LT2 Rule

4/11/2009/ 10am-12am 
Glencoe Elementary School Auditorium 825 SE 51st Street, in the cafeteria-
 
Community Meeting with Water Bureau & Congressional Reps (or their staff)
 
Re: 
Efforts Needed to Secure Federal Relief from the EPA's Misguided LT2 Rule
 
$ave Our Reservoirs and Bull Run Water!

 
 
Without legislative relief championed by Oregon's Congressional Representatives in Washington, the 2006 federal Long-Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2) will force Portland to build an additional Bull Run treatment plant and either bury or cover the five open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Parks, or disconnect them and use alternate storage elsewhere.
 
Hear what is being done and what needs to be done to advance legislative relief.
 
Tell the Water Bureau, City officials and our Congressional Representatives how important it is that Portland achieve legislative relief ASAP! The City is spending our precious money right now on these projects that we don't even need.  Stop the madness!
 
Ask your questions and make your statements!

4/10/2009

Hear a recent KBOO radio interview with Regna Meritt of Oregon Wild and Floy Jones of Friends of the Reservoirs speaking to this issue and what we can still do to keep the Bull Run  "elegant, endlessly sustainable, and as yet, not corporatized."
Date: 04/07/2009. Program: Political Perspectives
Title: Can We Keep Portland's Water System 'Endlessly Sustainable' & Uncorporatized?

Producer: Stephanie Potter
Length: 28:02 minutes (19.25 MB)
Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 96Kbps (CBR)

http://kboo.fm/node/13236


Note:
Want a quick run-down on what this is all about ? Scroll a long way down below here to 5/6/2008 to read our Twelve Reasons Why Portland Deserves a Congressional Exemption From the Flawed EPA Drinking Water Rule (It's all in bold)  

March 28, 2009

Sometime after the Water Bureau's March 25 hearing, the Bureau posted their EPA reservoir elimination plans. Page 79 shows the costs related to reservoir elimination and UV treatment (~$99million).  But Commissioner Leonard is now planning on longtime contractor Montgomery Watson Harza's more expensive Filtration plant, at a cost of at least $358 Million, so the total "elimination" cost is now at least $802.4 million, not including a variety of related costs such as whatever they eventually do with decommissioned Mt. Tabor and Washington Park reservoirs.
 http://www.portlandonline.com/water/index.cfm?c=49632&a=229286

March 9 2009:

Friends of Reservoirs Community stakeholders are still fighting for our grand open reservoir system!

Below is the letter sent by the South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA) in late February '09, to Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley:

Re: Request for Congressional legislation exempting Portland from EPA LT2 Regulation with respect to source water and open reservoirs
 
Dear Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley,
 
The South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA) voted with a strong majority to ask that you seek relief from the onerous and misdirected requirements of the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2). We join the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association, the Arlington Heights Neighborhood Association, and many area business groups, environmental organizations, public health officials, and individuals. Specifically, we ask your assistance in securing a Congressional “waiver” exempting Portland from the rule’s two key mandates of 1) additional treatment of our Bull Run source water and 2) burial, coverage, or treatment of our five in-town reservoirs (or otherwise decommissioning and building storage elsewhere).
 
With an April 1 deadline fast approaching, we ask you to take action now to avoid Portland ratepayer and taxpayer costs of approximately $800 million dollars in capital expenses ($1.6 billion including debt service) for blindly mandated source water treatment and open reservoir removal.  This, for no measurable public health benefit and without rational relevance to the intent of the LT2 Rule.  We would also support a first step of extending all related EPA deadlines if you feel it would facilitate your ability to produce an effective resolution.
 
While we understand that an EPA “variance” option on the source water is being pursued by our City officials, we believe the variance is unfairly onerous in its costs and testing requirements, which are also vulnerable to a high degree of subjective interpretation.  We also understand that the EPA rule inexplicably removed an originally drafted mitigation option for the open reservoirs.  For these reasons, we urge a legislative remedy. 
 
We are aware of and thankful for the supportive position you have taken on this matter, the fundamental facts of which include EPA’s failure to rely upon sound science as a foundation for policy and law as it relates to Portland's system and open reservoirs in general.  We are pleased and hopeful in hearing that the Obama administration is returning science to its rightful place in such decision-making.
 
Other fundamental facts have guided two separate and recent Portland community panels, which exhaustively reviewed the costs and benefits of additional Bull Run treatment and elimination of Portland's open reservoirs.  They respectfully concluded that there would be no measurable public health benefit from additional treatment and that the best approach to the open reservoirs would be to implement risk mitigation plans rather than bury, cover, provide additional treatment at their sites, or take offline and build storage elsewhere.  These fundamentals have not changed, with the following exception:
 
In the course of those public examinations, as well as other times in the past, the huge cost involved with just the burial or replacement of the open reservoirs alone has been cited as a key deterrent, especially given the questionable benefit.  Our country, our state, our city and our citizens are experiencing an economic meltdown not seen in several generations, the depth and breadth of which far surpasses the circumstances of those previous inquiries.
 
Oregon’s C.E.S. Wood said, “Good citizens are the riches of a city.”  As your constituents, we request that you and your fellow delegation members work together immediately to forge a path leading to a legislative waiver exempting Portland from the expensive and unreasonable requirements of the LT2 Rule.  As Portland Water Bureau Commissioner Randy Leonard publicly acknowledged recently, we believe this position reflects “the will of the community.” 
 
Thank you for your work to protect our historic and elegant Bull Run water system, as well as the pocketbooks of Portland ratepayers and taxpayers.  Please let us know if you will introduce legislation to secure a Congressional waiver for Portland's unique system. 

Sincerely,
Jonah Paisner
President, STNA
 
Cc:
Ms. Mary Gautreaux
Ms. Cyreena Boston
Congressman Earl Blumenauer
Ms. Hillary Barbour
Congressman David Wu
Ms. Julie Tippens
Mayor Sam Adams
Portland City Commissioners
 

 

January 18, 2009

Community stakeholders continue to advocate for our pure Bull Run water and our grand open reservoir system opposing unnecessary degradation and incurring massive debt for projects we don't need and don't want. Please read the letter below, then act.
 
Regards,
Floy Jones
503 238-4649
 
 
January 16, 2009
 
Dear Mayor Adams and Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Leonard and Saltzman,

RE: Water Bureau Budget Items, reservoir work scheduled without stakeholder notification and public process

We are dismayed to learn that the City Council is acting outside its own 2004 resolution regarding decisions related to Portland's open reservoirs and LT2; the resolution says that reservoir decisions will not be made without full public participation. We are learning via the back door that the City is presently advertising a contract for a 2nd Powell Butte reservoir to comply with LT2.[1]

As you are aware, it is a high community priority for the City to preserve our pure Bull Run source water and grand open reservoir system, with Congressional relief being vigorously sought. Doing so will avoid the degradation of our system and the unnecessary creation of significant long-term debt (upwards of $435 million dollars plus bonding costs[2]) for LT2 projects we do not need and do not want, projects that will provide no real or measurable public health benefit. The unfiltered gravity-fed reservoir system we have inherited is the ultimate green sustainable resource, a resource that should be protected from unneeded intrusive engineering projects.

Although the City has committed to seeking a Congressional waiver (or EPA variance) for our open reservoirs, there has yet to be an effort in this direction. There is no need, however, and we vigorously object to fast-tracking reservoir burial work because unlike the LT2 source water deadline of 2012, the rule does not establish a deadline for complying with the open reservoir requirement.  The EPA LT2 open reservoir requirement requires only that by April 2009 we negotiate an agreement with the State/ EPA as to how and by what date we will comply with the rule.

Advertising a burial contract now and including dollars in this budget serves only to undermine both the upcoming EPA negotiations and pursuit of a Congressional waiver (or EPA reservoir variance).

EPA has previously indicated that they would allow much leeway in scheduling compliance. The state supported our 2006 "clean water" variance legislation (that passed unanimously and was signed into law) in anticipation of our applying for open reservoir and source water variances. This information, coupled with the lack of public health issues associated with our open reservoirs, the lack of public health benefits from compliance and the tremendous public debt and huge rate increases associated with compliance, on top of already skyrocketing rate increases, suggests that the state (or EPA) would have to be grossly unreasonable to not allow a significant period of time for compliance with this piece of the rule.  Remember, the open reservoir requirement was simply inserted into this regulation without the EPA having collecting any data whatsoever, and without any scientific research that supported requiring covering or burying open reservoirs.[3]
We would also remind you that in 2004 an EPA LT2 Federal Advisory Committee consultant led a Portland city-selected reservoir panel that comprehensively examined the open reservoir issue, looking at all issues including water quality, security, age of facilities, costs, and historical significance. The panel remained unconvinced that there was any need to eliminate or additionally treat our open reservoirs.
We were told in November 2008 that we would not begin to work on the EPA negotiation until after January and that as stakeholders we would be full participants in the EPA negotiation.  We have anticipated that stakeholder meetings would precede any meetings with the EPA. There should be no closed-door EPA meetings related to the April agreement or the future of our open reservoirs.
 
 Generally there is no need for a PB2 and specifically we do not support the inclusion of this project in this budget cycle. The PWB acknowledges that Portland already has more storage than is needed and that a continued decline in water consumption (water sales) is expected. 
 

   In 2007 stakeholders did hear talk of an $86 million PB2 project (now budgeted at $137) although not in the citizen/employee budget committee. In April 2007 Kent Craford (Large Water Users Coalition) and Floy Jones (Friends of the Reservoirs) brought our concerns to the Water Bureau director and a program manager who advised that although no money was in the budget for this project, the reasons the bureau wanted to build PB2 were for retrofitting the 1980 Powell Butte 1 reservoir, improving fire flow and improving the Washington County Supply Line/ Tualatin Valley (TVWD) supply. We objected to the project based on the lack of need and cost.

We argued that this project was not essential for these reasons:  The bluff fire showed that there is no fire flow problem, TVWD may leave Portland for the Willamette, and retrofitting the 1980 PB1 reservoir has been identified by the Bureau as low priority (cost for retrofitting PB1 has escalated from $5 million to over $35 million, 50% of the cost of total replacement according to a 2006 consultant report).

 Having learned that Ultraviolet Light Radiation treatment plant design contracts are scheduled to be advertised in April for a Bull Run treatment plant, once again it seems that decisions have been made without the public process warranted for all significant infrastructure decisions.  There has not been a public process to address stakeholder concerns regarding the siting of such a plant in the event that we are not successful in achieving the necessary Congressional waiver. Community stakeholders object to siting the Ultraviolet Light Radiation plant at Headworks. There are a number of environmental concerns, including the negative impacts of construction in the watershed, and we have concerns regarding mercury contamination resulting from UV bulb breakage.
Our message has several elements: 
The City's strategy should be to aggressively pursue Congressional relief so that compliance with LT2 is irrelevant. Take no action that undermines neither the strategy to pursue a Congressional waiver nor the upcoming EPA reservoir compliance negotiation.  Pull back the PB2 RFP for Reservoir Design and any PB2 dollars in this budget, and do not issue a treatment plant RFP until there is a meaningful public process addressing the siting of a treatment plant. 

We ask you to slow down, restore transparency to the decision-making process, and involve the community and stakeholders before critical decisions are made. Do not allow the temptation of federal economic stimulus money or the PWB's ability to create significant long-term debt via bonding, to subvert real concerns about what projects are really needed and what projects are contrary to community priorities.
 
Sincerely,
 
Floy Jones
On behalf of The Friends of the Reservoirs
Cc City Chiefs of Staff

[1] Via documents presented to wholesale customers in December we have learned that the PWB is advertising this month, January 2009, a consultant contract to design a second underground tank at Powell Butte (RFP for Reservoir Design) to comply with LT2.  The PWB is presently engaged in "ownership" discussions with wholesale customers related to this project.
[2] Bonds will be issued yearly beginning next year if we do not succeed in securing LT2 relief
[3] EPA has only documented public health issues with covered and buried storage, Finished Water StorageFacilities http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf 

December 15, 2008
 
 Transition Team for President-Elect Obama
 451 6th Street, NW
Washington, DC 2001
 
Re: EPA regulation, Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2), as it applies to Portland's open storage reservoirs and unfiltered Bull Run source water.
 
To Whom It May Concern:
 
We write to you to request your assistance and to alert you of important savings that can be realized in this time of financial crisis. We represent grassroots groups, professionals, ratepayers and taxpayers.  We are united by our commitment to the high quality of Portland's Bull Run water and the livability of our city as manifest in Portland's grand reservoir system.
 
We have encouraged the City of Portland and the Portland Water Bureau (through Commissioner Randy Leonard) to advocate for Congressional legislative alternatives or an EPA variance that will allow Portland to continue to safely operate its open reservoirs, maintain federal protections for our watershed and avoid the LT2 requirements to add unnecessary and expensive treatment to our pure Bull Run water.
 
We oppose the use of federal economic stimulus money (now) or federal/ratepayer dollars (later) for unnecessary projects that will provide no measurable public health benefit, that are not based on sound science, that increase the risk of pollution of our drinking water, and that will cost approximately $435 million.
 
Why relief is needed  
The LT2 rule was meant to protect citizens across the country from waterborne disease, as represented by a 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a filtered water system failed, leading to grave illness and even death.  
Unfortunately, the LT2 rule, as it relates to Portland's unique, federally-protected watershed and open reservoirs in general, represents one of the major failures of the Bush administration - the failure to rely on sound science as a foundation for policy. 
Years ago, EPA regulation commenters stated that EPA must collect data and conduct scientific research before promulgating a rule on open reservoirs.  The open reservoir provision of LT2 was not based on science. It was simply inserted in the 2003 draft rule without any data collection. The final LT2 rule imposes new requirements that open reservoirs be covered, buried or additionally treated.  It mandates much stricter standards for open distribution reservoirs, including Portland's five open reservoirs, than for buried or covered distribution reservoirs. 
However, the EPA has never documented a single public health incident related to open reservoirs. The EPA has never conducted any scientific research that compares open distribution reservoirs to closed distribution reservoirs. And while the general level of contamination in covered reservoirs has never been studied, the EPA has documented multiple outbreaks of Salmonella, and other diarrhea illness due to drinking water from covered reservoirs.  The most recent such outbreak was March-April 2008 in Alamosa County, CO, where Salmonella contamination of a covered reservoir sickened at least 60 and caused one death.
 
The level of Cryptosporidium contamination in Portland's in-town reservoirs was studied in the 1990's and was found to be zero. Current studies demonstrate zero contamination by Cryptosporidium. There has never been an outbreak of Cryptosporidium illness in Portland attributed to drinking water.
 
In 2004, an EPA LT2 Federal Advisory Committee consultant led a Portland reservoir review panel that comprehensively examined the open reservoir issue, looking at all issues including water quality, security, age of facilities, costs, and historical significance. The reservoir panel remained unconvinced that there was any need or that there would be any public health benefit to eliminating the open reservoirs.
 
If forced to comply with this EPA mandate the City would be harmed by the loss of the many benefits of open reservoirs including the loss of sunlight on water (creating the potential for public health problems from nitrification), the loss of the open reservoir venting of disinfection byproduct gases, the expense, construction in one or more nature parks, and loss of the opportunity to maintain a well-functioning "green" system of water storage.
 
 Negative impacts of additional treatment of source water at Headworks
 
With regard to the Bull Run source water, additional treatment would bring a new risk of mercury contamination to our drinking water, creation of a new market for toxic mercury, increased use of energy, and the many potential negative impacts from a major unnecessary construction project in the Bull Run watershed including degradation of water quality, introduction of invasive species, increased risk of human contamination, and ongoing expenses related operating and maintaining an additional treatment facility. 
Power of Special Interests
Many community stakeholders have concerns regarding corporate involvement in the rulemaking process. Calgon Carbon, who held the patent for the technology (Ultra Violet Light Radiation) that most systems will use to comply with the rule, was deeply involved in the rule development, as was Montgomery, Watson, Harza Global (MWH).  MWH builds treatment plants, underground reservoir tanks, dams and other projects nationwide and around the world.  It is possible that the power of these special interests may have determined the final outcome - a rule that would increase their profits at the expense of Portland and other municipalities with safe drinking water. 
Lack of Mitigation Options
The 2003 draft LT2 rule included a mitigation option that would have allowed for continued, safe operations of open reservoirs. However, the EPA in the final rule inexplicably omitted this mitigation option, without notice or opportunity for public comment. As the City of New York argued, no one was provided an opportunity for comment on this critical change. 
Relief Needed 
We need your help to secure an exception to the EPA's mandate that Portland's open reservoir system be buried and that Bull Run source water be additionally treated. This exception can be based on the City's current compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Total Coliform Rule, and the extensive testing completed to date that confirms Cryptosporidium is not a problem in our Bull Run system.
 
Given unique federal legislative protections for the Bull Run system, the fact that human entry is completely restricted in the watershed, that domestic animals (source of Cryptosporidium) are prohibited, the total lack of disease attributable to our drinking water system, and the huge expenses to be incurred by LT2 mandates, we, the City of Portland, public health officials and other stakeholders have worked hard to secure alternatives to the LT2 rule.
 
The EPA has denied the City's first request for a science-based variance from the requirement for additional treatment for Bull Run water.  The City's second request has yet to be approved and the EPA is requiring testing methods that are very onerous and expensive. On top of this, at a meeting in Portland in February 2008 between the EPA and many stakeholders, including the Portland Water Bureau, the EPA informally took the position that an LT2 variance for open reservoirs is not possible and would not be forthcoming from the agency.   
 
An exemption from a national requirement would be appropriate, given the fact that Portland's water supply system is safe and healthy, providing the best drinking water in the nation, and that the LT2 Rule is an expensive, cookie-cutter approach with the potential to make our drinking water less safe!
 
Urgent action is needed
 
Time is running out to address the first of these issues, the open reservoirs, with an April 2009 signing deadline fast approaching.  Please help us create an alternative to protect Portland's unique water system from this expensive, unreasonable and potentially destructive rule.  We look forward to working with you to craft a winning strategy that protects public health and gains permanent relief for Portland from this regulation's expensive and unreasonable mandate.
 
Sincerely,
                                                                        
 
Floy Jones                                                           
Friends of the Reservoirs                                   

Regna Merritt Oregon Wild                      rm@oregonwild.or                                                                 

Scott Fernandez, M. Sc.
PURB member 2000-2008

Paulette Rossi
Chair Portland Utility Review Board                       
                                   
Frank Ray                                   
PURB Chair 2004-2007                                   

Paul Leistner                                               
Mt.Tabor N.A. LT2 rep.
                                   
Tamra Dickinson                                   
Friends of Powell Butte

Franklin Gearhart
Citizens Interested in Bull Run, Inc. 

                                              
Cc Senator Ron Wyden
Senato Jeff Merkley
Congressman Blumenauer
Congressman Wu

Lisa Jackson
Robert Sussman

 

 

12/10/08

Friends of the Reservoirs writes to Congress

December 3, 2008
 
Senator Ron Wyden
1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 223
Portland, OR 97204
 
 
Re: EPA regulation, Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2), as it applies to Portland's open storage reservoirs and unfiltered Bull Run source water.
 
Dear Senator Wyden:
 
The Friends of the Reservoirs (FOR) is a grassroots organization consisting of lay people, professionals, ratepayers and taxpayers.  We come from both sides of the river and we are united by our commitment to the high quality of Portland's Bull Run water and the livability of our city as manifest in Portland's grand reservoir system. We are very grateful for your exemplary work in protecting the best drinking water in the country.
 
On November 6, 2008 during a community stakeholder meeting, Commissioner Leonard reiterated his commitment to lobby for Congressional legislative alternatives (or a EPA variance) that will allow Portland to continue to safely operate its open reservoirs and to avoid the LT2 requirements to add unnecessary and expensive treatment to our pure Bull Run water. We support this position.
 
We strongly urge you and others in our delegation to quickly initiate federal legislative action to protect Portland's five highly valued historic open reservoirs, to protect the Bull Run water from expensive, unnecessary treatment, and to provide relief from the Bush Administration's EPA LT2 regulation.
 
Timely congressional action is critical because Portland faces an EPA-mandated April 2009 deadline to sign a negotiated agreement with the State of Oregon and the EPA outlining how and by what date Portland will comply with the open reservoir aspect of the LT2 rule.  A second deadline looms after that: construction of a facility to additionally treat Bull Run water must be completed by 2012 (or 2014, assuming a two year extension).
 
Why Congressional relief is needed 
 
Lack of Science
The LT2 rule was meant to protect citizens across the country from waterborne disease, as represented by a 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where a filtered water system failed, leading to grave illness and even death.   
Unfortunately, the LT2 rule, as it relates to Portland's unique system and open reservoirs in general, represents one of the major failures of the Bush administration - the failure to rely on sound science as a foundation for policy.  
Years ago, EPA regulation commenters stated that EPA must collect data and conduct scientific research before promulgating a rule on open reservoirs.  The open reservoir provision of LT2 was not based on science. It was simply inserted in the 2003 draft rule without any data collection. The final LT2 rule imposes new requirements that open reservoirs be covered, buried or additionally treated.  It mandates much stricter standards for open distribution reservoirs, including Portland's five open reservoirs, than for buried or covered distribution reservoirs.  
However, the EPA has never documented a single public health incident related to open reservoirs. The EPA has never conducted any scientific research that compares open distribution reservoirs to closed distribution reservoirs. And while the general level of contamination in covered reservoirs has never been studied, the EPA has documented multiple outbreaks of Salmonella, and other diarrhea illness due to drinking water from covered reservoirs.  The most recent such outbreak was March-April 2008 in Alamosa County, CO, where Salmonella contamination of a covered reservoir sickened at least 60 and caused one death.
 
The level of Cryptosporidium contamination in Portland's in-town reservoirs was studied in the 1990's and was found to be zero. Current studies demonstrate zero contamination by Cryptosporidium. There has never been an outbreak of Cryptosporidium illness in Portland attributed to drinking water.
 
In 2004, an EPA LT2 Federal Advisory Committee consultant led a Portland reservoir review panel that comprehensively examined the open reservoir issue, looking at all issues including water quality, security, age of facilities, costs, and historical significance. The reservoir panel remained unconvinced that there was any need or that there would be any public health benefit to eliminating the open reservoirs.
 
If forced to comply with this EPA mandate the City would be harmed by the loss of the many benefits of open reservoirs including the loss of sunlight on water (creating the potential for public health problems from nitrification), the loss of the open reservoir venting of disinfection byproduct gases, the expense, as well as construction in one or more nature parks, and loss of the opportunity to maintain a well-functioning "green" system of water storage.
 
Power of Special Interests
Additionally, many community stakeholders have concerns regarding corporate involvement in the rulemaking process. Calgon Carbon, who held the patent for the technology (Ultra Violet Light Radiation) that most systems will use to comply with rule, was deeply involved in the rule development, as was Montgomery, Watson, Harza Global (MWH).  MWH builds treatment plants, underground reservoir tanks, dams and other projects nationwide and around the world.  It is possible that the power of these special interests may have determined the final outcome - a rule that would increase their profits at the expense of Portland and other municipalities with safe drinking water.  
Lack of Mitigation Options
The 2003 draft LT2 rule included a mitigation option that would have allowed for continued, safe operations of open reservoirs. However, the EPA in the final rule inexplicably omitted this mitigation option, without notice or opportunity for public comment. As the City of New York argued, no one was provided an opportunity for comment on this critical change. 
Legislative Relief Needed 
We need your help to legislate a waiver for Portland's open reservoir system and for Bull Run water. This waiver could be based on the City's current compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Total Coliform Rule, and the extensive testing completed to date that confirms Cryptosporidium is not a problem in our Bull Run open reservoir system.
 
Why? Given the unique protection of the Bull Run system, the complete lack of disease attributable to our drinking water system and the huge expenses to be incurred by LT2 mandates, the City of Portland, public health officials and stakeholders have worked hard to secure alternatives to the LT2 rule. The EPA denied the City’s first request for a science-based variance from the requirement for additional treatment for Bull Run water.  The City's second request has yet to be approved and the EPA is requiring testing methods that are very onerous and expensive. On top of this, at a meeting in Portland in February 2008 between the EPA and many stakeholders, including the Portland Water Bureau, the EPA informally took the position that an LT2 variance for open reservoirs is not possible and would not be forthcoming from the agency.   
 
A legislative waiver would take this issue out of the lap of the EPA bureaucracy. That would be appropriate, given the fact that Portland's water supply system is safe and healthy, providing the best drinking water in the nation, and that the LT2 Rule is an expensive, cookie-cutter approach with the potential to make our drinking water less safe!
 
Your legislative efforts may well gain support from the City of New York. That municipality was also stunned by the lack of science and the lack of comment opportunity regarding the open reservoir rule. They may also seek relief from this LT2 requirement. 
 
 Negative impacts of additional treatment of source water at Headworks 
 
With regard to the Bull Run source water, the negative impacts of additional treatment include the public health risk from mercury contamination of drinking water, increased use of energy, and the many potential negative impacts from a major unnecessary construction project in the Bull Run watershed including degradation of water quality, introduction of invasive species and increased risk of human contamination, plus ongoing expenses related operating and maintaining an additional treatment facility.
 
Federal economic stimulus money should not be used for these projects
 
For the reasons stated above, we oppose the use of federal economic stimulus money (taxpayer dollars) or ratepayer dollars for unnecessary projects that will provide no measurable public health benefit, that are not based on sound science and that will cost upwards of $435 million for additional Bull Run treatment and the elimination of our open reservoirs. 
 
Urgent action is needed
 
Time is running out to address the first of these issues, the open reservoirs, with an April 2009 signing deadline fast approaching.  Please help us create a legislative alternative to protect Portland's water system from this expensive, unreasonable and potentially destructive rule.  We look forward to working with you to craft a winning strategy that protects public health and gains permanent relief for Portland from this regulation's unsupported open reservoir and source water requirements.
 
Sincerely,
 
 
 
Floy Jones
On behalf of The Friends of the Reservoirs
 
Enclosure
 
Cc
Senator Jeff Merkley
Congressman Blumenauer
Congressman Wu
Josh Kardon
Mary Gautreaux
Portland City Commissioners
Mayor Potter
Mayor-elect Sam Adams
 

 
 Addendum: Special Interests, Paucity of Science, Flawed Policy
 
Here is a brief review of some of the major issues or flaws associated with the rule, which may assist you in developing a legislative strategy. After nearly 8 years of research with much of it focused on the development of the EPA's LT2, we have concluded that the LT2 rule is quite flawed in its construction.
 
Special interests
The American Water Works Association's public comment noted Calgon Carbon's involvement in the rulemaking process.  Calgon Carbon held the patent for the new technology Ultraviolet Light Radiation, that large systems will now be forced to use to comply with LT2's source water treatment requirements.
Although the rule was initially expected to encourage and support watershed protections as a treatment alternative, in the end, the rule became effectively an Ultraviolet Light Radiation requirement, an enormous windfall for Calgon Carbon and corporations that build treatment plants.   Because of the way the elements of the "toolbox" were weighted, watershed protection disappeared as a viable treatment option.
 
Another a corporate benefit was the open reservoir burial component. It is no coincidence that this regulation, which accepts only big engineering projects as solutions to water quality issues, was developed while the EPA Science Advisory Board's Drinking Water Committee was chaired  by Rhodes Trussel, 30-year veteran of Montgomery Watson Harza Global (MWH) and CEO of Trussel Technologies (2003).  MWH builds treatment plants, underground reservoir tanks, dams and other projects nationwide and around the world.
 
Paucity of Science
EPA policy says that they use the best science available in promulgating regulations, but that was not the case with the LT2 regulation.
  
The open reservoir provision was not based on scientific research:  it was simply inserted in the draft rule (2003) without any data collection and without EPA having documented a single public health issue with open reservoirs.  Out of more than 700 LT2 supporting documents, only a single decade old open reservoir study exists in the record. This study involved 1997 New Jersey study involving lake-like reservoirs, which are subject to runoff and the contamination that comes with runoff. (Portland's reservoirs, in contrast, are protected from runoff and are cleaned twice a year.)
 
 Although the researcher, LeChevalier, detected some oocysts in these lakes, he stated upfront that the analytical method used "does not permit assessment of the organisms public health significance. Nearly all of the cysts and oocysts were empty or contained undiscernible internal structures, suggesting the health risk is low."  He emphasized the importance of developing methods to "accurately identify waterborne oocysts and "accurately assess their viability and infectivity." EPA's approved sample method neither tells you if oocysts are viable (alive) nor if they are infective to humans; the method fails to identify the genotype.
 
 LeChevalier concluded that covering reservoirs is problematic, with the covers themselves being a problem as has been well documented elsewhere including by the California Department of Health Services in it's 49 page report addressing the threats to water supply resulting from the use of these covers.  The researcher also references nitrification problems occurring in large, chloraminated covered reservoirs, with the exclusion of sunlight aiding the growth of nitrifying bacteria.
 
With the near-absence of LT2 research related to water quality in open finished water reservoirs, and in the complete absence of research comparing water quality in open reservoirs to that in covered reservoirs, it is bad policy to require drastic changes where no problem has been shown to exist.
 
 
Bad Policy               
 
With regard to source water and unfiltered systems, the rule is clearly biased in favor of filtered systems, despite the fact that all Cryptosporidium outbreaks have occurred in filtered systems where human and/or bovine sewage is present in the watersheds. Filtered systems are subject to much lower scrutiny and standards of compliance. The sad irony is that the LT2 rule does not require any action upfront from these systems, even those that have had actual Cryptosporidium outbreaks. Filtered systems are required to monitor monthly, and should they find small amounts of Cryptosporidium, the EPA does not require that they add additional treatment, institute watershed protection measures, or take any action.  For filtered systems, EPA is concerned about its sampling method problems, i.e. false positives.
 
But for unfiltered systems, systems that protect their watersheds from the sources of infectious Cryptosporidium, the rule requires that additional treatment be added upfront, even with no history of outbreaks or oocysts detected in source water. For unfiltered systems, EPA is concerned about false negatives.
 
With regard to the City's current efforts with EPA for a source water Safe Drinking Water Act variance, EPA rejected Portland's proposal developed in conjunction with the Multnomah County Health Department, wherein a combination of epidemiology public health surveillance and water sampling would demonstrate compliance. Instead EPA is minimally requiring that Portland increase it's sampling from 600L per year to 13,500L. This would require near daily sampling, an enormous investment of time, energy and resources, and unjustified by our history of negative oocyst counts.  This is the opposite of EPA's filtered system rule, where "EPA did not support requiring additional treatment for filtered PWS's based on so few counts" and  "the feasibility of increased sampling is limited by the capacity of laboratories and the cost of sample analysis."   Although filtered systems need take no action should they detect low levels of Cryptosporidium, should Portland find two or more Cryptosporidium oocysts in this infinitely larger volume of water, we would be forced to immediately build a treatment plant. 
 
Further, EPA's approved sampling method (HV1623) does not specify whether any oocysts detected are dead (harmless) or alive, nor does it specify the genotype (i.e. infectious to humans). Therefore, Portland could find itself in a position where we are forced to build a treatment plant after detecting dead harmless and or non-infectious microorganisms. And these detects could be false positives.
 
Is any of this reasonable?
 

 Although EPA has denied that a reservoir variance is possible, this position is contradicted by the fact that the EPA considers covering reservoirs to be a “treatment technique”, and as such a reservoir variance falls under the Safe Drinking Water Act. 
 
Section 1415(a)(3) of the Safe Drinking Water Act authorizes the "Administrator [to] grant a variance from any treatment technique requirement . . . upon a showing  . . . that an alternative treatment technique . . . is at least as efficient in lowering the level of the contaminant with respect to which such requirement was prescribed."
 
In 2006, the Oregon legislature unanimously passed and Governor Kulongoski signed into law a "clean water variance" provision developed in line with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act variance provision.  This action was taken in anticipation of the City's interest in pursing two variances to the requirements of LT2. The State Health Department, Physicians for Social Responsibility, ratepayer groups, and environmental groups including Oregon Wild supported this legislation.
  
Politics, politics
Finally, we'd like to point out how bias is reflected in some EPA reports and documents we've seen.
In the text of the LT2 itself, (Federal Register/ Vol. 71, No. 3, page 713), in a segment titled a. Types and sources of contaminants in open reservoirs, the 1993 Salmonella outbreak in Gideon, MO is cited. The text does not mention that this outbreak actually occurred in a closed reservoir. 
 
EPA documented contamination events and actual public health issues with closed distribution storage in its 20-page 2002 report, Finished Water Storage Facilities http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf but has never released a regulation to address these real public health contaminations.
 A revision of the Total Coliform Rule has been in development for many years. This revision is intended to address the distribution system. Open reservoirs are a part of the distribution system. Closed reservoir public health issues including nitrification that occurs in buried storage, distribution pipe contamination, cross connection contaminations, and the risks of backflow are issues that a comprehensive distribution system regulation would address. Any hypothetical open reservoir issues should have been scientifically studied alongside the actual public health issues associated with closed systems.

6/5/08

MP3 Audio File: Hear Scott Fernandez talking about Portland's contaminated well field water on the KBOO show Monday on the Environment on 5/5/2008. Thank you to the show's host, Scott Forrester. Scott Fernandez is now a former member of the Portland Utility Review Board. (PURB) He was removed from that position after many years, by Commissioner Randy Leonard, shortly after this show. http://kboo.fm/node/7151 or Click here to listen to the 29 minute show. (27MB audio file)

5/6/2008

Twelve Reasons Why Portland Deserves a Congressional Exemption From the Flawed EPA Drinking Water Rule

1. It will cost Portland (Bull Run watershed) ratepayers over 800 million dollars to comply with this misguided Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment regulation (LT2), with no measurable public health benefit.
 
2. We will lose our pure, minimally treated Bull Run water to risks of mercury contamination and other problems, including environmental concerns from the unnecessary construction of an Ultraviolet Light Radiation plant and the clear well that accompanies that plant. This will likely consume immense quantities of operational energy and generate hazardous material due to used mercury UV bulbs.
 
3. We will lose our historic open reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park, along with the many benefits associated with open reservoirs. The public health benefits of open reservoirs include the venting of carcinogenic gases such as Radon, chloroform, and bromoform. Covering our open reservoirs will eliminate sunlight that inhibits the nitrification process, and breaks down Nitrosodimethyamine (NDMA), a carcinogenic chloramine byproduct.
There is no scientific research in the LT2 record to support that burying or covering open reservoirs improves water quality. A Portland Water Bureau (Montgomery, Watson, Harza) study on Portland’s open reservoirs concluded that there has been no degradation of water quality from our open reservoirs. Portland recently had a long serious discussion about burying and covering our reservoirs, with the Independant Review Panel (IRP) affirming Portlanders’ interest in retaining our open reservoirs. We preserved them, but now unless Portland campaigns vigorously for a Congressional exemption, our open reservoirs will be eliminated.                                              
 
4. The LT2 law is inconsistant, it does not require any action upfront from systems that have actually had Cryptosporidium outbreaks. For small systems, or large filtered systems (i.e. a water source that clearly always needs filtration), the LT2 rule takes into account cost and benefit considerations, while for unfiltered systems that protect their watersheds from the sources of infectious Cryptosporidium, no cost/ benefit considerations are made; the rule requires that unfiltered systems build a treatment plant upfront, regardless of the absence of Cryptoporidium.
 
5. Unfiltered drinking water systems like Portland’s have never had an outbreak linked to Cryptosporium, even with open reservoirs.
 
6. The Portland Water Bureau (PWB) found zero Cryptosporidium in our historic open reservoirs when they independently tested for such in the 1990’s.
 
7. The EPA does not require systems that have had actual EPA documented outbreaks from covered or buried storage to take any action to address those problems.
 
8. The EPA’s concern with distribution system reservoirs (as opposed to source water Cryptosporidium contamination) was apparently so minimal that it did not require any testing for Cryptosporidium in open or closed distribution reservoirs, during the Information Collection Rule, (the time period that provided the data for the LT2 regulation.) The EPA did not conduct any data collection on open reservoirs at any time during the LT2 rule development, nor did it conduct any comparative scientific research on open and closed reservoirs.
 
9. EPA’s 2002 white paper, “Finished Water Storage Facilities,” (http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection/tcr/pdfs/whitepaper_tcr_storage.pdf) prepared by the American Water Works Association, cites a number of examples of contamination outbreaks from covered or buried reservoirs.  EPA has not documented a single case of an outbreak from an open reservoir either in the LT2 regulation, or in any document that addresses distribution system problems. EPA misleadingly cited a 1993 covered tank salmonella outbreak in the LT2 rule under the heading of types and sources of contaminants in open reservoirs!
 
10. EPA’s Storage Facility document discusses the many problems with floating reservoir covers including the fact that they commonly cause bacterial contamination of drinking water. Yet, the poorly crafted LT2 rule includes problematic floating covers as an option for fulfilling the EPA requirement that all open reservoirs, problematic or not, be eliminated (or treated at the outlet.)
 
 
11. EPA’s Total Coliform Rule (TCR) documents, which were prepared in anticipation of revising the TCR, state that distribution system outbreaks that include open and closed reservoirs have been largely a result of cross connection contamination. (translation: sewage contamination.)
 
12. There was self-serving corporate involvement in the development of the EPA LT2 regulation. A criticism noted in the public comments by American Water Works Association addressed Calgon Carbon’s involvement.  Calgon Carbon held the patent for the new technology of Ultraviolet Light Radiation that most systems will now be forced to use in order to comply with LT2’s source water treatment requirements.
Montgomery Watson Harza Global (MWH) was influentially involved in the development of the LT2 rule. Rhodes Trussel, 30-year MWH veteran and CEO of Trussel Technologies (2003), was the chair of the EPA Science Advisory Board Drinking Water Committee during the Rule development. Portland hired the engineering firm of Montgomery, Watson, Harza (MWH), with lead Joseph Glicker (former Bureau manager) sitting at the table in the LT2 rule development. MWH is the same corporation that has been on retainer with the Portland Water Bureau for decades and has held multiple Portland Water Bureau contracts related to Bull Run treatment (1989-2004) and the Open Reservoir Study (an 8 year contract for $2,138,900.) Other corporations, including chemical and equipment suppliers, participated in this Rule development.

Update 2/22/2008

Welcome to the Friends of the Reservoirs.  We are in the midst of a new call to action, to ward off another assault on the "beautility" of our historic and elegantly functional Bull Run water system and city reservoirs.  Previously, between 2002 and 2005, Portland citizens successfully rose up in grass roots cohesion to protest and reveal the unwarranted and costly nature of City plans to bury its open reservoirs.  Now, we must overcome a nationally mandated Rule from the EPA, which essentially dictates building some form of a large scale treatment plant in order to address one parasite, called Cryptosporidium.  This one-size-fits-all regulation that was strongly criticized by prominent groups across the country during its comment period, would also result in the destruction of our open city distribution reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park.  Though this rule may well be appropriate for some systems, it has no business being applied to Portland's.  We have no Cryptosporidium problem, and no signs of having one down the road; unless, ironically, the addition of a treatment plant to our system leads to a false sense of confidence and an opening up of the Bull Run watershed to the very sources of infectious Cryptosporidium - humans and cows.  The EPA's approach is akin to mummification to treat a freckle on one's hand.  We have a pristine water supply that has served us well for over 100 years. Building a treatment plant and burying the open reservoirs will provide no measurable benefit to our system.  These costly projects will add potential public health risks and will result in the loss of pure Bull Run water and our historic open drinking water reservoirs.
 
Our mission now is to educate the public on the ramifications of this ruling, of which there are many, and simultaneously rally your support to take action.  For the moment, that support should include writing to Portland's commissioners (and candidates in the upcoming May election), urging them to take action to intervene such that we are not forced to negatively alter our system to address a non-existent problem.  It is important that you also write to your Oregon Congressional representatives, including U.S. Senator's Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith, and U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer and David Wu.

Contact info is on our GET INVOLVED page:

Update: February 15, 2008

For those of you who missed the media coverage, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued its decision in November, 2007 on Portland's challenge to the EPA regulation, the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2). We lost on all points. New York City joined Portland as an Intervener in this case (the open Hillview distribution reservoir in New York provides water to 10 million people.)  Walla Walla and Oregon Wild also participated in this lawsuit as Friends of the Court.
 
Portland challenged this regulation on two fundamental grounds: first, the rule requires all unfiltered systems - systems that protect their source water from infectious Cryptosporidium, which primarily comes from humans and cows – to essentially build treatment plants despite the fact that Cryptosporidium is rarely found in these systems. Second, the final rule inexplicably eliminated the mitigation option for open distribution reservoirs, such as those at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park. Under LT2 all open reservoirs must now either be covered, buried, or treated at the outlet.
 
A wide spectrum of representatives worked together in this effort: Representatives from the business community, including Kent Craford, who represented the Water Users Coalition, Regna Merritt of Oregon Wild (ONRC), Neighborhood representatives, Portland Utility Review Board representative Scott Fernandez and myself from Friends of the Reservoirs, worked with the City to develop a strategy for protecting our unique and pristine Bull Run system. This is a system that includes our historic open reservoirs, both of which have provided clean, safe, gravity-fed water to the community for over 100 years. Our water is not just lauded as the best in the nation, but recognized in other countries as one of the world's most highly protected watersheds, unique in that it is federally protected.
 
Bull Run will forever be negatively impacted if we proceed with building a treatment plant to address a non-existent problem. You might recall that all of the issues related to this regulation were presented to a Bull Run Treatment Panel in 2002, a panel that was facilitated by the corporation who was slated to profit from building a treatment plant.  The panel concluded that there would not be any measurable health benefits from the construction of a Bull Run treatment plant. Dr. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County public health officer has consistently held this same position.
 
Physicians for Social Responsibility demonstrated their support for protecting Bull Run this summer when representatives from the community joined the Portland Water Bureau, Friends of the Reservoirs, the Safe Drinking Water Program, and Oregon Wild at the state legislature in support of an Oregon State "clean water" variance to bring Oregon law in line with the Federal law. This "clean water" variance bill passed both Oregon legislative bodies unanimously.
 
You might ask what scientific evidence of Cryptosporidium problems in open distribution reservoirs, or any other scientific research was documented in the LT2 record specifically on open reservoirs? The fact is, while the EPA LT2 docket contained over 700 documents, several of which were hundreds of pages thick, the LT2 record on open reservoirs was literally just a handful of documents. There was one open reservoir Cryptosporidium study in the record ( Le Chevalier 1997) involving lake-like reservoirs in New Jersey. None of the reservoirs were engineered structures like Portland's or New York's according to the 12 page research paper by Mark W. Le Chevallier -- "resemble large clear lakes..." -- including the reservoir mentioned by the court, called “Stanley Levine.” A photo of this lake-like structure is included the research paper. These reservoirs, unlike Portland’s, are subject to runoff and are never cleaned. The summary statement on the face of the research paper states, "Nearly all of the cysts and oocysts were empty or contained indiscernible internal structures suggesting the health risk is low." At the time the draft LT2 rule was released in 2003, this report was in EPA's hands. Even though a draft ruling provided a mitigation option that would allow reservoirs to stay open, and no new information was received by the EPA on open distribution reservoirs before promulgation of the final rule, the EPA inexplicably removed the mitigation option from the final rule, requiring all open distribution reservoirs be covered, buried or treated at the outlet.  
 
Portland must now pursue a variance from this regulation either through the EPA or through Congress. We can continue to demonstrate that Cryptosporidium is not a problem in Bull Run or in our open reservoirs. Please write to Commissioner Leonard (www.randy@ci.portland.or.us ) and thank him for all of his efforts to protect our unique system, including his support of this legal challenge, and encourage him to make a strong effort to obtain a variance or congressional exemption from this regulation. You might cc the rest of City Council as well.
 
Having spent several years reviewing and reading boxes and boxes of documents related to the development of this regulation, and having read significant portions of the official record related to this rule, it is clear to me how this regulation was developed, who benefits, and who will dearly pay for its poorly constructed "one size fits all" regulation.  If enough of you are interested in learning more about this regulation and what actions are still available to the community let us know and we will consider scheduling detailed information sessions.
Sign up at: friendsofreservoirs1to6@msn.com
 
Regards,
Floy

Copy of the letter sent by Friends of the Reservoirs
February 6, 2008
 
Commissioner Randy Leonard                                      David Shaff, Administrator
1221 SW Fourth Ave., Room 210                                Portland Water Bureau
Portland, Oregon 97204                                               1120 SW Fifth Ave., Room 600
                                                                                    Portland, Oregon 97204          
 
 
Dear Commissoner Leonard, Mr. Shaff,  
 
As the City prepares to engage in negotiations with the EPA, Friends of the Reservoirs would like to share our concerns about the water sampling approach to seeking a variance.
 
In seeking a variance to satisfy the EPA’s Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule’s (LT2) water quality requirements for unfiltered systems and open reservoirs, the Portland Water Bureau will have to overcome difficult, if not impossible standards, particularly if the effort to obtain a variance is based on water sampling.  Cryptosporidium water sampling, as designed by the EPA, is a set-up for failure and demonstrates significant bias against unfiltered systems.  Community stakeholders believe that the variance option does not necessarily need to focus on additional water sampling.  Comments in the LT2 document and in papers by consultants to the EPA clearly project the message that water sampling, as a mechanism for protecting our pristine source water and our open reservoirs, is doomed. 
 
 
The water sampling approach, as set forth by the EPA, includes the following problematic considerations:
• The EPA does not accept that a sample of zero Cryptosporidium represents a value of zero.  Since the EPA estimates that the organism occurs in water more often than sampling has found, they have assigned a statistical value of one oocyst (a Cryptosporidium organism) or more for each sample of zero.  In other words, zero is not zero.   In reference to this statistical approach, the American Water Works Association (AWWA) has stated that EPA’s interpretation of two rounds of national data “is suspect and driven by unsubstantiated and perhaps extreme assumptions.” • A variance, based on water sampling as outlined in the example that illustrates  EPA’s rule, would require that Portland build a treatment plant if just two Cryptosporidium parasites were detected out of hundreds of samples required over the course of two years.
 
• The EPA does not accept the reliability of monitoring to establish an extremely low level of Cryptosporidium.
 
• Water sampling detects the presence of a Cryptosporidium parasite without indicating which genotype of the Cryptosporidium species it is and, therefore, does not indicate whether it is infectious or problematic to humans.  Not all Cryptosporidium genotypes are infectious to humans.
 
• Current sampling methods do not indicate the viability of the Cryptosporidium oocyst.  Dead Cryptosporidium oocysts (i.e., those lacking internal structures) are not problematic.   Contrary to the lack of evidence, the EPA considers all positive samples (detects) as viable.
 
• The EPA acknowledges that there are inadequate quality assurance and control measures in the sampling procedures of labs. 
 
• False positives have been identified as a problem with Cryptosporidium sampling. Clancy Environmental Consultants, which has an extensive history with the EPA, cites recent cases in which poor-quality water analysis produced false positives. This created a crisis in which systems unnecessarily spent millions of dollars to address a non-existent problem.
 
In addition, there is no way to deal with species contaminants such as algae and non-specific interference (i.e., debris, silt, soil and other micro-organisms) that may yield false positives.
 
• Bias toward filtered (i.e. polluted) systems is suggested in the LT2 Rule in that cost/benefit considerations were made for these systems.  As stated in the LT2 document, “Given the uncertainty associated with Cryptosporidium monitoring, the EPA and the Advisory Committee did not support requiring additional treatment for filtered PWSs based on so few counts” (two oocysts during two years of monitoring).  For the filtered systems, the EPA determined that a higher sampling frequency was not feasible due to limited capacity of labs and the cost of sampling.  Whereas, cost versus benefit considerations was taken into account for filtered systems, in the Portland case, it was ruled that cost/benefit could not be a consideration in complying with the LT2 Rule.
 
 
Having considered the many obstacles related to water sampling, The Friends of the Reservoirs would like to see the City’s efforts in seeking alternatives to costly treatment and burial focused on obtaining a Congressional provision exempting Portland from the LT2 Rule.
 
Sincerely,
Floy Jones on behalf of Friends of The Reservoirs




Thursday, January 3, 2008, 10 AM KBOO Radio,  Portland:  90.7 FM

The Recovery Zone - Host Stephanie Potter speaks with activists working to protect Bull Run and Portland's water system. Recent federal rulings mandate that millions of dollars be paid to corporations to "purify"
our water, but the activists counter that our present system is so effective and "sweetly low-tech that it seemingly could be coming from some very green future."
Hear that that show: Jan3 08.KBOO RZ.mp3
http://www.kboo.fm

 

The LT2 Decision statement
United States Court of Appeals FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT Argued September 25, 2007 Decided November 6, 2007
No. 06-1068 CITY OF PORTLAND, OREGON, PETITIONER v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY, RESPONDENT CITY OF NEW YORK, NEW YORK, INTERVENOR FOR PETITIONER ...
Diane Curran was on the brief for amici curiae Oregon Wild, et al. in support of petitioner. Timothy Donaldson and Charles B. Roe, Jr. were on the brief for amicus curiae City of Walla Walla, Washington.
Before: GINSBURG, Chief Judge, and SENTELLE and TATEL, Circuit Judges. Opinion for the Court filed by Circuit Judge TATEL.

In this case Portland and New York City challenge an Environmental Protection Agency rule regulating microbial contaminants in drinking water. The rule requires the two cities to take several steps to eliminate the parasite Cryptosporidium from their drinking water. The cities challenge the rule on many grounds, arguing that EPA improperly conducted a required cost-benefit analysis, provided inadequate notice and opportunity for public comment, ignored significant comments on the draft rule, failed to use the best available science, and issued a final rule unsupported by the record. Because we find the cities’ arguments either meritless, irrelevant, or both, we deny the petition for review.".... Read the whole decision here:
LT2 2007 Court Decision.pdfLT2 2007 Court Decision.pdf



Meanwhile, some citizens asked that we post the comments of citizen Brad Yazzolino, based on an opinion piece he had published in the SE Examiner in December.
The Bull Run has served us safely for over 100 years because it’s an unusually clean, high-elevation watershed. Now we need to work to preserve this entire system, because with a recent federal ruling, the EPA has told us to stop the beautiful handcrafted antique clock that is Portland’s water system even though it’s still working perfectly. They want us to replace it with a new, costly $150–350 million dollar system because of a perceived threat from a microbial parasite called Cryptosporidium. That’s so un-Portland! To their credit, two open-reservoir cities, Portland and New York, have diligently challenged the EPA regulation, the Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2). Both challenges were rejected by a three- member Washington DC court panel November 6. The court admitted in the decision that “Portland may be right that the amount of Cryptosporidium entering their reservoirs poses a minimal threat,” but now under LT2, all open reservoirs must either be covered, buried, or treated at the outlet. Otherwise, Portland must obtain a variance or exclusion from this rule from Congress. The law requires cities with uncovered reservoirs to do everything possible— regardless of the cost— to absolutely eliminate Cryptosporidium.
 
Cryptosporidium has always been rare in Portland’s water system, and there has been no evidence of its presence here since 200[1]. In 2002, the Bull Run Treatment Panel concluded that there would not be any measurable health benefits from a treatment plant. Gary Oxman, Multnomah County public health officer, has consistently held this same position. Without a variance or congressional exclusion, Portland will be forced to needlessly over-clean some of the purest water on Earth to absurd zero tolerance levels that will do nothing of real value. Is this how we want our sensible, livable, green, creative, intentional city to get pulled into the 21st century global water game? It’s time for Portland water users to show appreciation and stand up for the water system we enjoy. Our existing water system is so old and sweetly low– tech that it seemingly could be from some very green future. It’s elegant, endlessly sustainable, and, as yet, not fully "corporatized," It is worth saving, a glorious engineering gift to us from the 1890s. We risk losing a frugal and graceful system whose loss we will regret 50 years after it’s gone, when we find ourselves re-inventing it (like streetcars, windmills on family farms, and livable neighborhoods). Our present system is valuable because it proves how wise it is to keep some areas relatively untouched, reserved only for water collection. It’s one of the world’s largest and best examples of exactly appropriate technology. Once we move to water treatment and an enclosed finished water system we totally devalue the elegant functionality of the whole: the remote rain-fed- basin, almost no human entry, Douglas fir needle filtration, downhill flow to city, gravity flow fountains, splendid hilltop reservoirs, direct to your drinking glass. Once we have a big water treatment plant, who needs a clean watershed? Commissioner Randy Leonard sees much of this value, and he unconditionally wants the reservoirs to still look as they do now. That’s some comfort, but that still may eventually mean watershed destruction, water skiing in Bull Run Lake, snowmobiles, fishing and hunting, and more logging in some of the best old growth around. Randy Leonard and the Water Bureau are saying they will entertain creative options. At the same time, however, they are saying they must plan for the treatment plant. Now is the time for citizens to insist on a safe variance, with frequent testing to show that our water remains as safe as it naturally always has been. Let’s repair, maintain, closely monitor, and honor Portland’s historic Bull Run drinking water system. Let’s defend it against the relentless push for an unneeded treatment plant, which will bring creeping privatization. Let’s resist selling parts of it off and keep it dearly for our region. Our leaders are willing to listen to us. Please write to Commissioner Leonard (rleonard@ci.portland.or.us) and thank him for all he does to protect our unique system, including his support of the legal challenge. Let’s encourage him to make a strong effort to obtain a variance for this regulation.


Portland will ask EPA for variance on open reservoirs
Posted by The Oregonian December 10, 2007 15:58PM
By Andy Dworkin of The Oregonian

Portland's taking no chances after a court rejected its efforts to avoid expensive federal

water treatment rules. City engineers have started studying ways to treat water for the parasite cryptosporidium and contain drinking water in open reservoirs at Mount Tabor and Washington Park.

Link to the 12/10 Oregonian article referred to above:
http://blog.oregonlive.com/pdxgreen/2007/12/portland_will_ask_epa_for_vari.html



From 2007 and before:

 

Urgent Action Needed to Protect Bull Run from Unnecessary Treatment Under New EPA Rules

The City of Portland is currently considering fighting a pending EPA ruling that would require an expensive water treatment facility that is unnecessary. The Long Term 2 Enhance Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2ESWTR) is not only based on bad "science", but will be detrimental to our Bull Run system. Many consultants will profit from this rule, including those involved in promulgating it, at an enormous cost to ratepayers. Learn more about this issue with the following resources.

Statement from the Friends on the Proposed Treatment of Bull Run Water

The Friends of the Reservoirs oppose plans to add UV Radiation, Membrane Filtration or any other unnecessary additional disinfection to our system. We believe that the plan conceived and supported by the Portland Water Bureau, engineers, and consultants to add UV Radiation, Membrane Filtration, or other additional disinfection to our Bull Run system is a bad plan for Portland.

The following statements reflect years of research and investigation that are scientifically and documentarily supported:

  • There will be no measurable improvement of water quality as a result of adding any additional disinfection.
  • There will be no measurable improvement of public health benefit.
  • Current data does not support Cryptosporidium as the public health risk previously assumed
  • There is no evidence disease is endemic (no measurable low level disease)
  • Our system has no sewage exposure and therefore the risk is too low to be measured
  • The costs for these unnecessary projects are substantial
  • The increased annual maintenance costs associated with these projects are unsustainable
  • Unscrupulous engineering and consulting special interest groups long associated with our Water Bureau stand to reap windfall profits
  • Turbidity concerns have been relatively insignificant and could be managed by decommissioning roads in Bull Run
  • Both UV Radiation and Membrane filtration will add new potential public health risks where none existed before
  • Additional summer drawdown of Bull Run to increase supply is not a certain benefit
  • Adding these costly and unnecessary systems will not address the water quality issues associated with a backlog of deferred maintenance
  • The addition of these costly plants will soon lead to the burial of the historic reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park
  • These projects may lead to our drinking contaminated Willamette and Columbia river water in a regional agency scheme

Read the entire statement (59k PDF).

Comments to the EPA Regarding LT2

Far from being the result of rigorous peer-reviewed research, much of what is in the LT2 is controversial and is based on estimates rather than actual data. See what other major players have to say about the LT2 in their Comments to EPA.

Portland to Host 2nd Open House on Proposed Water Sales Agreement

The City of Portland has water sales agreements to sell drinking water to 19 water providers in the region. The current agreements were negotiated in the late 1970's and most of the agreements will expire in 2007

The draft of the new agreement is currently available for community review and comment. The agreement and other information are available on Portland's website - www.portlandonline.com/water. Public comments will be accepted through early March 2006. For More Information Contact: Sarah Murphy, Portland Water Bureau 503-823-7444

 



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