Issues that we are currently active on include:
Sewage Spill in Woods Creek, a Tributary to Fanno Creek
On July 10, 2017 the Bureau of Environmental Services (BES – a department of the City of Portland) responded to a call about odor on the 6100 block of SW Canby Street. BES found that 27,000 gallons of household sewage had been released into Woods Creek, a tributary of Fanno Creek that flows into the Tualatin River. The culprit of the sewage spill was a private landowner that had connected one of their sewage pipes to a stormwater pipe. The information if the pipe connection was done purposefully or by mistake has not been released. BES was able to contain the sewage spill by setting up a temporary containment area (similar to a small dam) and pumping system to pump the contaminated water into a city pipe that traveled to a treatment facility. It is unknown at this time if the landowner will face any consequences.
A SECOND SPILL on July 13, 2017 occurred in the same area this time releasing 90,000 gallons of sewage from a manhole near 7320 SW 69th Ave. The Bureau of Environmental Services was once again on the scene to investigate the cause of the spill. BES was surprised to find that the spill was coming from an open drain line that City of Portland employees had left open in error after completing testing on the Fanno Basin Pressure Line. Clean up efforts were carried out similar to the previous July 10th spill. Due to the large amount of sewage that entered Woods Creek Clean Water Services and the City of Beaverton also joined the City of Portland’s clean up efforts to remedy the situation.
A representative at the City of Portland was unsure to what extent the large sewage spill would have on the Bureau of Environmental Services but an internal review of policies, trainings, etc. will be conducted to limit future potential employee error.
A Clean Water Services representative reported that an estimated 200 fish were found dead in Woods Creek. Clean Water Services notified the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife about the fish die-off in the steam and collected daily water quality samples downstream of the overflow site until the stream no longer showed evidence of the release.
For additional information
City of Portland has a 24/7 hotline to report odors, leaks and other sewer problems:
Phone: (503) 823-1700, Website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/280035
Clean Water Services 24 Hour Response Line: Phone: (503) 681-3600,
Website: https://www.cleanwaterservices.org/contact-us/ or to report illegal dumping of paint, oil, soap, fertilizer or other waste into storm drains call: (503) 681-5175
Photo from the City of Portland Environmental Services
Clean Water Services Takes Big Steps for Improving Water Quality
On April 22, 2017 the updated Design and Construction Standards (D&C) from Clean Water Services went into effect. D&C standards are requirements for sanitary sewer, storm sewer, and surface water management that developers have to follow in order to build or renovate in the Tualatin Basin. The big win for water quality with these new standards is that any new or renovating construction that creates 1,000 sq. ft. or more of impervious surface will have to treat stormwater on site by utilizing development techniques that mimic natural systems, including Low Impact Development Approaches (LIDA) and green infrastructure. This is a win for water quality because an impervious surface causes rain water to not be able to infiltrate into the ground but instead flow into nearby creeks and streams. This can be detrimental to an ecosystem because of the toxins and chemicals that the stormwater picks up from roads, parking lots, etc, and because of the high-speed at which the water is flowing can cause erosion and flooding.
The next steps will be for Clean Water Services to create a hydromodification plan by April 2019. Hydromodification is the alteration of the natural flow of water through a landscape. CWS will be creating a hydromodification tool kit for developers to use for mitigating stormwater on site. Examples will include, bioswales, vegetated corridors, native vegetation, reducing impervious surfaces, and stream and riparian restoration.
For more information, to write comments/question, or to join their newsletter please go to the Clean Water Services Design and Construction Update Standards website.
Timeline provided by Clean Water Services
Example of a bioswale in Portland, OR