floy jones floy21 at
Thu May 5 12:01:42 PDT 2011


$500 MILLION                            85% INCREASE IN 5 YEARS



 PORTLAND CITY HALL-    TESTIFY OR JUST ATTEND- Bring family, friends and neighbors


 City Council Needs to Hit the Pause Button on $500 Million for Unnecessary Reservoir Burial and Treatment Plant Projects. It takes 3 votes.  The goal of the LT2 rule is to reduce the level of disease in the community from Crypto, Giardia and viruses. All public health officials agree that there is no disease in the community from Bull Run open reservoir drinking water. AwwaRF 3021 researchers using an improved sampling method have said that Portland already meets the goal of the rule, as do all of the 19 utilities participating in the study. Portland's AwwaRF sampling took place at Portland's open reservoirs.

As reported in the Oregonian, Center for Disease Control information suggests that this negotiated EPA regulation is providing little benefit to any community let alone to the Portland community.  



On April 22 more than 100 people gathered outside Portland City Hall to protest the Portland Water Bureau's fast-track plans to spend $500 million on corporate-negotiated EPA LT2  "public health" projects that by all accounts will provide no measurable public health benefit while contributing significantly to an additional 85% water rate increase and to the creation of massive debt.  

Take note that many of the Water Bureau's recently distributed so-called "facts" are disputed by information obtained via public records requests and other documents.  Water Bureau tactics and strategies designed to manage and manipulate the public into believing there are no viable options are not a new phenomenon.  The PWB has employed a variety of tactics and strategies many times over the last 10 years- half truths, omitting critical bits of information and mixing apples with oranges in explanations in an effort to justify unwanted and unnecessary projects. We saw this in 2009 when the Bureau was trying to sell an $800 million LT2 "public health" plan - unsuccessfully pushing a $400 million chemical filtration plant using the Joe Glicker-led Bull Run treatment panel material (scrubbing the MWH corporate logo off documents before distributing to the public) to support the effort. We saw the same in 2002, '03 and '04 when the Bureau fought the community in defense of a line-item burial budget decision resulting in a cozy consultant Tabor burial contract and Washington Park reservoir cover projects -projects rightfully terminated subsequent to the costly 2004 city-selected Reservoir Panel review- see what panel member said regarding Water Bureau here<>.

  Stay tuned as we will address some of the Bureau's current misrepresentations designed to force massive rate increases and unnecessary reservoir burial projects. 



  there is no deadline in the epa lt2 rule for implementing the open reservoir "treatment technique" requirement that systems with open reservoirs "treat or cover" to address Crypto, Giadia and viruses- contaminants that do not exist in Portland's open reservoirs.  The Bureau's fast-track burial schedule- put forth in defiance of Portland City Council ordinance 179979 (2004 Reservoir Panel ordinance) which called for meaningful public process inclusive of all stakeholders, was designed to get cozy consultant reservoir burial design contracts in place before the public knew what hit them.  The Bureau's plan was submitted to Council on the day the day the Bureau submitted it to EPA. The Bureau brought the Joe Glicker, CH2M Hill Powell Butte project to Council in the a.m. and their $800 million LT2 compliance plan to Council in the afternoon.  Council was blindside with no time provided for consideration of the plan or evaluation of alternatives.   AS CALLED FOR BY A DIVERSE GROUP OF COMMUNITY ORGANIZATIONS IT IS TIME TO HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON.


As reported in January 2011 by Scott Learn of the Oregonian, EPA says the Portland Water Bureau was heavily involved in the EPA LT2 rule negotiation. Indeed they were. What hasn't been reported is the fact that the PWB hired an engineer consultant with a clear conflict of interest to assist in the rule development process. Cozy consultant engineer Joe Glicker, the consultant hired to negotiate the EPA "public health" regulation, now with CH2MHIll, was subsequently awarded a $9 million Powell Butte II (LT2 compliance) design contract under an "emergency" ordinance (though no "emergency" ever existed)- on the very day the Bureau submitted their LT2 compliance plan. The "emergency" clause is used often by the PWB as a tactic to keep controversial Bureau projects and cozy contracting practices as opaque as possible. 


AwwarRF 3021 Reservoir Sampling is an Improved Sampling Method

The AwwaRF 3021 sampling method used in the sampling of 7000 liters at the open reservoirs (ZERO detects) is an improved sampling method.  According to researchers all 19 participating utilities already meet the goal of the LT2 rule. EPA's sampling method fails to distinguish between harmless and harmful varieties of Crypto.  Note that the Portland Water Bureau wanted to keep this reservoir AwwaRF study secret, as the results did not support their burial plans. The Bureau managers were not happy when it was disclosed by the Oregonian a few months ago. Now the PWB is working to downplay the sampling results that support the community's case (nearly as many liters sampled at the open reservoirs as for the source water "variance"). New York's water department not only has conducted extensive Crypto sampling of their Hillview open reservoir in support of permanent protections, they also conducted extensive Giardia sampling to support a permanently retaining their open reservoir. 

The Portland Water Bureau should have been conducting Giardia sampling at Portland's open reservoirs over the last several years, but they were focused on awarding cozy consultant contracts  and spending beyond their means.


Rochester's system is different. Rochester's open reservoir storage volume is LARGER than Portland's. 


Rochester changed their reservoir plans in 2010 after community opposition.  Rochester creatively came up with a low-cost alternative ($9 million for UV, $25 million for total compliance- compare with PWB $500 million plan) as reported in the Oregonian. While we don't support adding Mercury contamination risks to our drinking water ("treatment at the outlet") in the absence of a problem requiring additional treatment, there has NEVER been an INDEPENDENT assessment of the "treatment at the outlet" alternative.  A consultant engineer who had a CLEAR CONFLICT OF INTEREST provided information on this option to the 2004 reservoirs panel and is the source of information the Water Bureau uses now suggesting "treatment at the outlet" isn't possible.  The storage volume of the Rochester open reservoirs (set in parks) is LARGER than Portland's. The Portland WB says our system is larger, yes it is, but it is not necessary to treat the full Bull Run flow volume at the outlet of each reservoir. Note that Portland currently has an excess of 50 million gallons of in town storage at Tabor and excessive storage at Washington Park as well.


Let me state the point again. There has never been an INDPENDENT examination of a "treatment at the outlet" compliance option by Portland. A nine-year consultant study of the open reservoirs did indicate that treatment at the outlet is feasible and that the current system is capable of adding chlorine at the outlet of all of the open reservoirs ( MWH Water Quality Evaluation Tech Memo document 2.7). Cost and feasibility information addressing "treatment at the outlet"  presented to the 2004 Reservoir panel and used today by PWB engineers was supplied by a multi-national corporation/cozy consultant working then in defense of retaining their recently awarded $6 million Tabor burial contract, a contract that was terminated subsequent to the city-selected 2004 Reservoir Panel review that found no water quality, age or condition, security or other reason justifying burial (or "treatment at the outlet") expenditure. There should be an independent analysis of all alternatives. 


Fighting For Portland's Open Reservoirs?

Information obtained via public records requests disputes the recent suggestion by David Shaff (Oregonian opinion piece responding to Physicians for Social Responsibility/Water User Coalition opinion piece) that the Water Bureau has been fighting for Portland's open reservoirs over the last 3-4 years.


 Since 2008 100% of the Water Bureau's resources (YOUR DOLLARS) have been dedicated to a corporate-benefiting, no-public-health-benefit build "track".   0% of the Bureau's resources were invested in the community-supported alternative reservoir compliance "track".  We know of no independent stakeholder groups (those with actual constituents), i.e businesses, environmental organizations, NA associations, or Bull Run advocacy organizations who support the Water Bureau position. 


Water Rate Hearing, May 18, 2011 10:15-  Speak out in support of retaining Portland's historic open reservoirs 

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