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Video: Threats to Portland's Water Supply

Public Access program, "A Growing Concern," features a discussion of imminent threats to Portland's water supply. Guest is Scott Fernandez, local microbiologist.

Threats to Portland's Water Supply
On the program, Fernandez also discusses the upcoming "Save Our Drinking Water Rally" on Earth Day, April 22, 2011 at Noon at the City Hall sidewalk, SW 4th and Main in downtown Portland.

For further information:

Citizens for Portland's Water)

(Excerpted from Friends of Bull Run Water Facebook Page">

Portland, Oregon, really does have some of the best tasting and purest drinking water of any large city on Earth. Since 1892, our remote Bull Run Watershed has been set aside as Portland's water source.
For over 114 years our city has enjoyed drinking the super-clean rain water collected in this remote natural basin. It has a very long track record in proving itself safe and healthy, because the Bull Run area is a very restricted-entry watershed that collects only pure snow and rain from within it's own basin.
It's a beautiful, efficient, gravity-flow, sustainable system in harmony with nature, showing the world how to get clean water without paying corporations for it.

Do you know that we are now in great danger of losing this remarkable gift from the clever engineers of the 1890s?

Portland's water quality, and it's health record has been fabulous, with not even one case of Cryptosporidium sickness found to have come from our drinking water for over a century. Yet the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (which often sides with big business over our environment) says now we must quickly build an un-needed water plant to eliminate, to below zero, every dead, dead, dead, fragment of ALL varieties of this one-celled group of protozoa. (Only two of the approximately eight varieties can make people sick.
Those two are only the type that come from human and cattle sewage.) But the EPA makes no distinction between the types at all. This is now going to force Portlander's to pay for the current compliance plan designed by Commissioner Leonard which is:
Build a 99 million dollar ultraviolet radiation treatment plant in the watershed;
bury the Mt. Tabor and Washington Park reservoirs on site at Washington Park;
and Mt. Tabor, and use existing and new reservoirs buried at Powell Butte and Kelly Butte.

All this will force Portlanders to pay $500 million (actually $1 billion, with the debt interest to be paid over 25 years). So, watch your water bill double over the next 5 years, and all for no measurable public health benefit.

Meanwhile, our water is as good as ever, still naturally filtered by the myriad needles on 700 year-old Douglas Fir trees in our very nearly pristine watershed. Human entry is restricted to very few Water Bureau and Forest Service people only, and of course, no cattle are permitted. The new Federal EPA's LT2 rule is threatening to entirely destroy Portland's exemplary, carefully protected Bull Run watershed, and also, as a result, our low-tech, but proven-safe, open reservoir, relatively untreated water system.
This steady-state, naturally pure system is actually one of the greenest, and most venerable things about our city. Portland's entire water delivery system has worked fine without this wrong-headed EPA rule since 1895. It will work just as well long into the future, for centuries to come, if it is only kept up.

If you love Portland's Bull Run water, or any of the handcrafted microbrew beers, and fine distilled spirits made out of it, you should join our group!


Our best hope in fixing this is for Portlander's to stand up and let the our City Council and Congress know that we demand an exemption to save what is really one of the greenest, smartest, water systems of the future, an eminently sustainable and beautiful water system that works as well as it does, specifically because it is in as much complete harmony with nature as any city's water collection system ever could be.

homepage: homepage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JWqP5xYS_g

How? 17.Apr.2011 10:08


You are asking people to join the group, but I didn't see a way to join in the article. Could you provide ways for people to plug in. Thanks for bringing this story to light!




EPA Wants Portland to Add Drinking Water Treatment, and Cover Our Open Reservoirs; for Microbial Problem That Does Not Exist

The Resulting Toxic and Carcinogenic Chemicals Added To, and Degrading Our Drinking Water Will Also Be Discussed.

Thursday - April 21, 2011 3PM- 4PM
Browsing Lounge Room 238 Second Floor
Smith Memorial Student Union


Friday April 22, 2011 Noon-1PM
Portland City Hall 4th Street Side


How? To Plug In 17.Apr.2011 20:40

Scott Fernandez friendsofsafedrinkingwater@gmail.com


Plug in by attending the lecture at PSU this Thursday and attending the rally at Portland City Hall this Friday at noon. We need you, and your friends, to voice your support of NO added treatment of Bull Run drinking water and NO covering of our open reservoirs. The community wants a Congressional/ EPA Waiver exempting us from the scientifically flawed unneeded EPA regulation that will immediately degrade our drinking water from toxic and carcinongenic contaminants. Thanks for your interest. We all drink this pristine gift of Bull Run water, and we want to continue with this safe healthy water as it is today.

2 questions 17.Apr.2011 21:21


1) does bull run already get uv treatment by being exposed to the natural light, and has this ever been used as an argument?

2)would covering the reservoirs protect us from radiation in rain from the japan current air flow?

Creating Jobs 18.Apr.2011 14:11

Portland Democrat

These projects create jobs - like paying construction workers to put up signs saying "Your Tax Dollars At Work". The OBama stimulus plan is constantly being attacked, but it is indeed working.

It's not going to hurt to cover the reservoirs, and it will create local jobs. This is a Win / Win.
Jobs are created and water supplys protected.

two questions 18.Apr.2011 21:13

Scott Fernandez friendsofsafedrinkingwater@gmail.com

Yes Bull Run does get a UV exposure that does aid in natural disinfection. We have presented this to our elected officials. They ignore the science.

The open reservoirs add no more risk than what we are exposed to in everyday life. The air we breath, dirty shopping cart handles we are exposed to at the store, the vegetables we eat that may have been irrigated with questionable water all produce some risk. All surface waters of the world are exposed including our own Bull Run. Our deep concern is the radioactive Radon gases that come up from our Columbia South Shore Wellfield. They saturate in the water and with open reservoirs harmlessly vent into the atmosphere along with ethers, and chloroform gases. If we went to closed storage tanks, these gases remain in the water and end up in schools, homes and workplaces. Not good for public health. Our open reservoirs have provided safe drinking water for over 100 years.

Creating Jobs 18.Apr.2011 21:23

Scott Fernandez friendsofsafedrinkingwater@gmail.com

We agree jobs are important. What we ask for, and want our money spent on, are long term jobs that provide a benefit to public health. We have identified long term family wage jobs that need to be done now....not put off as they have been for many years. These jobs would begin to reduce the tens of thousands of hours of deferred mantainence on the distribution system. That is the solution to a real Win/Win for public health and ratepayer benefit combined. They stay in-house and are not outsourced to non-represented contracts. We don't need new covered storage tanks and unneeded drinking water treatments. We need new pipes and infrastructure.