City explores cryptosporidium treatment options
Earlier this year, a bacteria known as cryptosporidium was found in several water samples from Portland’s main water resource, the Bull Run Watershed.Earlier this year, a bacteria known as cryptosporidium was found in several water samples from Portland’s main water resource, the Bull Run Watershed. As a result, the city’s variance from water treatment has been revoked by the Oregon Health Authority and Portland City Council is currently considering whether to treat the water with ultraviolet radiation or with a filtration system. Council must have an answer for the Oregon Health Authority by Aug. 11 and a full plan in place by Sept. 22.
Ultraviolet treatment is less expensive, thereby minimizing rate impacts, and can be implemented quicker. However, this option only protects against cryptosporidium, not other potential issues in the water system, and must be replaced after 20 to 25 years. A filtration system, on the other hand, is more expensive and will take longer to design and construct, but does address other potential concerns with water quality that may arise in the future. The Alliance supports a hybrid option that would put an ultraviolet system in place immediately, while the city begins plans for a filtration system to replace ultraviolet system at the end of its useful life. This option provides near-term action to ensure water quality and provides an opportunity to create a fund for the longer-term solution that will minimize rate impacts. We sent a letter outlining our position to city council in mid-July.