Pilot Testing Shows Filtration Treatment Offers Significant Health Benefits

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Bull Run Treatment Project team members are enthusiastic about the positive results they're seeing from the first year of pilot testing. These results will be submitted to the Oregon Health Authority in November and will be used to help plan, design, and build the new filtration facility.

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Water Quality Manager, Yone Akagi

Clean, safe water to keep our community healthy is a top priority for our Bull Run Filtration pilot project team. For the last year, our dedicated team has operated a mini-filtration facility to study how well different treatment options work for Bull Run water. Our team is happy with the positive results. 

Illustration of a sparkling glass of water


“The filtration project is going to have a lot of great public health benefits. The primary one is that it is going to treat for Cryptosporidium,” says Water Quality Manager, Yone Akagi. "We sometimes find Cryptosporidium in small quantities in the Bull Run supply. Cryptosporidium is a tiny organism that can cause potentially serious illness."

Another important public health benefit of filtration is the reduction of disinfection byproducts (DBPs). DBPs are formed when natural organic matter in water comes in contact with the chlorine added to kill harmful bacteria and viruses DBPs can potentially cause. Both Cryptosporidium and DBPs are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and closely monitored by the Portland Water Bureau to make sure our water is safe. 

Our team conducted a variety of testing during the pilot project, including looking at DBPs.

Bull Run Treatment Projects Pilot Team Member at Work
Water Quality Engineer Anna Vosa is happy with the results after running water through our filtration system.

“We are thrilled that our testing indicates that filtration treatment will significantly reduce all DBPs regulated by the EPA to very low levels, easily meeting our project goal to reduce DBPs to less than 50 percent of regulatory limits. When ozone is added, DBPs are further reduced to even lower levels,” says Anna Vosa, water quality engineer. “While DBPs measured in Portland’s tap water today are below regulatory limits, reducing them even more would further benefit public health.”  
  

This November, we’ll submit the complete results of our pilot work to the Oregon Health Authority and celebrate another significant project milestone.

Bull Run Treatment Project Filtration Pilot Planning Team
Environmental Specialist Tom Krause and fellow pilot team members prepare for another day of testing. 

Humberto Piedra-Ruiz, a member of our pilot project team, sums up the team’s enthusiasm and commitment to bringing even safer water to our customers: “Completing our first year of testing is very exciting because we’re one step closer to completing our goal of helping to design and build the new filtration facility.”  

The pilot team’s not done yet. Next, they’ll take a look at the best approaches for disinfection and corrosion control. “Our team’s excited to move to the next phase of the pilot. We all care about clean water and making sure that when people turn on the tap, they have safe, good-tasting water in Portland,” says Water Quality Manager Yone Akagi.