Bulletin staff report

Bend laid the last piece of its 8-mile southeast interceptor sewer line Wednesday night, completing a years-long project that will allow thousands of new homes and businesses to tie into the city’s sewer system.

Portions of Neff Road will remain partially closed for about a month, depending on weather, while the city finishes repaving the road, but all other roads are now open. Sewage can start flowing through the new line as early as next week, once the city diverts flows from pump stations.

The new line runs northeast from the Murphy Road pump station, through the Kings Forest neighborhood, north under 27th Street and under Neff Road and Purcell Boulevard near St. Charles Bend. It uses gravity, rather than pumps, to move sewage, and the city estimates it will save about $18,000 annually by not using pump stations.

The pipeline’s completion demonstrates a renewed focus on core services including water, sewers, police, fire and roads, Bend Mayor Casey Roats said. The line will make it possible to add jobs, schools and homes to Bend, he said.

“It’s a momentous milestone for our community because this is showing that we’re beginning to get caught up with our infrastructure,” Roats said.

The new sewer line will also affect hundreds of southeast Bend homes that use septic systems. A city committee is still studying how best to tie those houses into the sewer system.