Tour of new reservoir under construction on Powell Butte - KPTV - FOX 12

Tour of new reservoir under construction on Powell Butte

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FOX 12 got an up-close look at the new reservoir being built on Powell Butte in southeast Portland.

Construction on the new covered, drinking water reservoir began a couple of years ago. The project is part of a massive plan to cover all the city's open-air reservoirs to comply with federal mandates. Those mandates state that water supplies need to be covered to reduce the risk of contamination.

The city of Portland has been fighting the federal mandates for years. But after losing another appeal earlier this year, city leaders decided it was time to move forward.

By 2015, the city plans to have the new reservoir on Powell Butte and another reservoir under construction on Kelly Butte online.

By 2020, the open-air reservoirs at Mt. Tabor will be closed, city leaders said. The city also plans to replace one of two open reservoirs at Washington Park with an underground tank. It will be covered with a reflecting pool on top.

"You're not subject to environmental contaminants with the bird feces, dead animals or even auto emissions for that matter," said Tim Hall of the Portland Water Bureau. "And in Mt. Tabor and Washington Park, we are often pulling trash out of the reservoirs."

The city's plan to cover or close its open-air reservoirs at Mt. Tabor and Washington Park has drawn protests. The most recent one happened within the last two weeks at Mt. Tabor.

From the outside, the new reservoir being built on Powell Butte looks like a massive concrete warehouse. But the two cells will be able to hold up to 50 million gallons of water, city leaders said.

Once construction on the new reservoir wraps up in October, crews will then clean up the site. It's a process that will likely stretch into next spring, city leaders said. Project managers told FOX 12 that the only signs you'll see of the reservoir once it's done are a couple of hatches and portions of the retaining walls out front.

An open house will be held later this week to talk about the changes that will be made to the reservoirs at Washington Park. It will be held on Thursday, July 25th, at the First United Methodist Church, Collins Hall from 6 to 8 p.m. The church is located at 1838 SW Jefferson St. in Portland.

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