A Tiny Parasite Is Probably Going to Cost Water Customers Tens of Millions

Comments

1
Mr. VanderHart, you've been fed a load by Commissioner Fish.

Cities were not required to "fry" crypto under federal rules. They were required to cover or treat, and those rules, which are available for public viewing, clearly say that anything that achieves sufficiently low levels counts as "treatment," including Portland's traditional gravity fed open aeration system. The only cypto levels that matter under the rule pertain to species that are pathogenic to humans, which have never been detected here. Hence what you refer to as our "hall pass" on source water treatment.

That hall pass has rankled special interests who've wanted for years to build an expensive source water treatment plant. They also wanted to bury our open reservoirs and build unnecessary regional infrastructure that serves out-of-city interest. It serves Portland water customers no purpose, but all that cash sounds nice flowing through the coffers of companies like CH2M Hill and the city politicians' re-election campaigns they donate so generously to. We're already paying for the unnecessary infrastructure, including the buried tanks with their tens of thousands of leaks. And now we'll get to pay for a source water treatment facility too, just as water bureau contractors have been angling for since the early oughts.

Meanwhile, no human-pathogenic crypto has ever been detected in our system or any other system like ours. The 1993 outbreak in Milwaukee occurred because Milwaukee allowed industrial-grade agricultural sewage to run directly into its drinking water supply and didn't do anything about it until people died. That could have been fixed with common sense. But instead we got an industry friendly federal rule that hasn't saved a single life or improved anyone's water quality. Ever.

While PWB charges us for crony hand-outs using that bogus rule as an excuse, meanwhile audits show that basic conduit pipe maintenance is tens of thousands of hours behind, creating prime conditions for dangerous biofilm buildup that *is* pathogenic to humans. And, in order to pretend that Bull Run needs treatment, we now drink Flint-caliber Columbia backwash and pay extra for the privilege.

Unfortunately, the Mercury uncritically reports as fact the self-serving propaganda of Commissioner Fish and his water bureau cronies. If only a facility could be built that would filter that out. It'd be worth every penny.
2
Thanks, Katherin. Sounds like we'll be hearing a lot from you as this moves forward.
3
Dirk, could you elaborate on whether the the Cryptosporidium species detected was a human pathogen or nonpathogenic species that is known to infect rodents (primarily ground squirrels) and not people?
4
I don't know about every species ID'd. The March 8 letter suggests the detections were "low-risk" for humans. The city insists that makes no difference in the state's/feds' eyes.