BEND, OR -- Bend's new $33 million water treatment facility is finally up and running. Political and legal issues slowed the project, but the city will celebrate its completion on Friday. Public Works Director Paul Rehault tells KBND News, "We were originally regulated to have this done by 2012. We received some extensions to that. We then signed with the Oregon Health Authority last year, a document called a bilateral compliance agreement that said we’d have this operational by April 15, 2016. We’ve met that so this is kind of a celebration of meeting that."
Read more about the project.
He says the upgrades were necessary to prevent certain water-borne illnesses. "It will make it safer. A bug that is sometimes in water called cryptosporidium, it has caused illnesses in other parts of the country before, and the US government has required that we filter for that. We’re one of the last systems in the country to have the requirement to be filtered." Rehault adds, "This is a great thing for the city of Bend. We’re so dependent on water here, whether it be our climate or some of the industries that are obviously growing here in the city. It’s great to have the water supplies that we do, and it’s even greater now that we have them properly treated."
The city tested the system for a couple of months using pretreated well water. They started treating Bridge Creek water a couple of weeks ago. Bend's water used to be treated with chlorine to prevent contaminants.
This project also included a new 11-mile pipe that diverts water from Bridge Creek to Tumalo Creek.