Bend moves ahead on $13.4M sewer project

Colorado Avenue pipeline, pump work could begin in the fall

By Hillary Borrud / The Bulletin / @hborrud

Published Jul 9, 2014 at 12:01AM

The city of Bend could break ground this fall on a major $13.4 million sewer project to meet the needs of new development on the west side of the city.

A new sewer pump and major pipeline attached to the Colorado Avenue bridge will help the city accommodate Deschutes Brewery and OSU-Cascades, as well as other development in the area, Assistant City Manager Jon Skidmore said Tuesday.

“It really does provide capacity for industry,” Skidmore said. “It also opens up capacity for additional west-side growth because it does relieve some of the capacity issues at the west-side pump station.”

The overburdened west-side pump is at Portland Avenue.

A smaller pump and pipeline exist at Colorado Avenue, but Bend Infrastructure Planning Director Tom Hickmann said Monday that the pump is “corroded out pretty heavily. But the other piece of this is it’s also insufficient in size to meet any new growth.”

Hickmann said the new Colorado Avenue pump station in McKay Park, also the location of the existing pump station, will be large enough that it can handle its regular wastewater load, as well as wastewater that is otherwise pumped across the city at Portland Avenue.

The city will pay for the project in part with a 9 percent increase in sewer rates that will take effect Oct. 1. The current monthly residential sewer charge in Bend is $44.37. The sewer rate increase and a simultaneous 5 percent water rate increase will add more than $5 to the total monthly bill for an average residential customer, according to the city.

It is unclear how much the entities forecast to produce much of the growth and development in the area — Deschutes Brewery and OSU-Cascades — will pay toward the cost of the project. Principal engineer Aaron Collett, who is managing the project, said the Colorado Avenue pump station and pipeline are on a list of projects eligible to be paid for with fees the city charges developers. The fees are supposed to help defray the cost of building infrastructure necessary to serve new development. However, Collett said the city is reviewing the method it uses to assess these fees and has not determined how much of the Colorado Avenue project might be funded this way.

Hickmann said he expects the project to wrap up by fall 2015. Consultants have completed roughly 60 percent of the engineering design.

“We’re right now kind of in the middle of design of the pump station and the force main,” Hickmann said. “We hope to have the design complete here in the next few months, with construction starting this fall.”

The city will have to cut into Arizona Avenue to install a new pipe and then repair the street, but Hickmann said it was already on a public works department schedule to be repaved soon. “So once we’re done, they will come in and repave that street,” Hickmann said.

The project will affect traffic across the Colorado Avenue Bridge and on Arizona Avenue, although Hickmann did not yet know when these phases of the project will begin.

“It depends upon when we actually start the force mains that are going to go across the bridge there, hanging from the bridge,” Hickmann said, referring to large sewer pipes. “But I imagine we’ll have some kind of one-lane shutdown while we hang the pipe from the bridge. And then certainly as we go along the Arizona (Avenue) couplet there, up to Second Street, we will have at least a lane shut down during that construction period.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7829, hborrud@bendbulletin.com