Type of Event: Study Tour
Topic: Watershed Management
Organization: Portland Water Bureau
Location: Bull Run, Oregon
Host: Tama Martellucci / Environmental Educator, Resource Protection & Planning
International Fellows: Meei-ru Jeng (Taiwan), Xuejiao Li (China), Thammarat Mettanurak (Thailand), Tuan Manh Phan (Vietnam)
WFI Staff: Shadia Duery / International Fellowship Manager, Vivian Bui / Professional Programs Coordinator
It's difficult to think of something more important in our daily lives than clean water, so it only makes sense that the WFI International Fellows' latest study tour was to the Bull Run watershed, the source of municipal drinking water for roughly a million people in the Portland Metro area, including the cities of Portland, Sandy, Gresham, and Tualatin. This region's daily water consumption in the winter is roughly 80 million gallons; in the summer, that number can double to 120 - 160 gallons. We took part in a guided tour that is open to the general public and led by the Portland Water Bureau to raise awareness about our public drinking water. It was a full day of learning and beautiful scenery as we wound through a network of forest roads and along watershed infrastructure, including dams, reservoirs, and groundwater pumps.
|Bull Run Lake|
|Bull Run Springs, ground zero for Portland's drinking water|
|Aptly-named Reservoir 1|
What's next for the Bull Run watershed? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently ruled that Portland Water Bureau has 10 years to implement a water filtration system in the Bull Run. This is due to low but infrequently present levels of Cryptosporidium that have been detected in the watershed starting in January 2017. Cryptosporidium is a genus of protozoa genus that can cause respiratory and gastrointestinal illness in humans, is spread by mammals, and possesses a hard shell that is resistant to chlorine treatment. Up until recently, Portland was the only city in the country to be granted a variance from the EPA's LT2 rule, which states that every water supplier is required to treat for Cryptosporidium, due to its absence in the Portland area. Despite the still-low levels of Cryptosporidium in the Bull Run watershed, the decision to begin filtering water from the Bull Run was made in August 2017 due to the filtration system's ability to filter out not only Cryptosporidium but also airborne particles resulting from nearby wildfires, the frequency of which is increasing with climate change.
Want to take advantage of their free lead-in-water testing? Then click HERE.