Time is ticking for the Portland Water Bureau to fix its drinking water reservoirs.
The Oregon Health Authority denied the Bureau's request today for more time to replace the uncovered drinking water reservoirs at Mount Tabor and Washington Parks. In 2006 The federal Environmental Protection Agency ruled that all uncovered drinking water reservoirs in the U.S. either be covered or have treatment facilities installed at the outlets.
The Bureau had requested an extension to comply to 2026 but the health authority said it has to be done by Dec. 31, 2020.
"We are very disappointed in this decision," said Portland Water Bureau Administrator David Shaff. "We made a case to the state that was very similar to the one made by New York City in successfully extending its reservoir compliance schedule. Oregon is clearly choosing a very different approach for administering federal drinking water rules."
Portland submitted a detailed request for an extension to its compliance schedule in February 2012 based on the challenges of successfully managing the several large design and construction projects that would be necessary to complete the work by 2020. Similar arguments were cited by New York City when it succeeded in its request for an extension to its own reservoir compliance schedule in 2009.
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