$24M price on water treatment

Bend City Council expected to approve cost for membrane filter system

By Sheila G. Miller / The Bulletin

The Bend City Council is expected to approve a guaranteed maximum price of just under $24 million for the construction of the membrane water treatment plant associated with the Bridge Creek water project.

The price would be an amendment to the construction manager/general contractor contract with M.A. Mortenson Construction that was originally signed in April 2011.

The membrane filtration system at the Outback facility would allow the city to treat water for cryptosporidium, a microorganism that can cause illness. City officials have debated for several years how best to treat water that comes to the facility from Bridge Creek. Bend and other cities are facing a federal deadline to treat surface water for cryptosporidium; originally Bend was supposed to start treating the water by 2012, but it received an extension until October 2014.

In 2009, a consultant who conducted a feasibility study on the issue told the City Council a membrane filtration system was the best option for Bend. The council voted 5-2 in December 2010 to build a membrane filtration plant. But in February 2013, councilors voted 4-3 to re-examine the type of treatment facility to build, and a citizen committee researched the issue. The council voted again in December to go with the membrane filtration system.

Adding the membrane treatment plant at the Outback facility is one piece of a larger $68 million Bridge Creek water project that has been in the works for years. Other aspects of that project, which has been delayed by federal lawsuits, include replacing two aging pipes that span from the watershed at Bridge Creek to the Outback facility near Tumalo Creek, with a new single pipe. On Friday a federal judge declined to issue an injunction on the pipeline work. Central Oregon LandWatch and WaterWatch filed a lawsuit in November arguing the U.S. Forest Service had not properly considered the project’s environmental impacts when it granted the city a permit to begin construction on the project.

The new membrane water treatment facility is slated to be complete by July 31, 2015.

— Reporter: 541-617-7831, smiller@bendbulletin.com