Willamette Water Supply Project on track for 2026 completion

When completed, the new system will provide drinking water to thousands of people in Washington County.

WILSONVILLE, Ore. (KOIN) — In Wilsonville, the fall rains aren’t slowing down the work on the Willamette Water Supply Project. 

Construction crews are driving equipment through mud, digging trenches and laying massive pipes. 

“About 25% of the 30 miles of pipeline has been constructed, and some of our big facility work is about to begin,” explained Marlys Mock, communications supervisor with the Tualatin Valley Water District and spokesperson for the project. She said crews are in the thick of construction right now. 

The Willamette Water Supply Project is a massive pipe system that will supply drinking water to three communities: the Tualatin Valley Water District, Beaverton and Hillsboro. All three areas expect significant population growth in the next 50 to 100 years and intend to use the water supply project as a way to meet the needs of future Washington County residents. 

Construction crews work to install pipe for the Willamette Water Supply Project in Wilsonville on Sept. 27, 2021. (KOIN)

The three communities started exploring options for a new drinking water system about 10 years ago, Mock said. The City of Hillsboro was particularly concerned about finding a back-up water supply. Hillsboro Water’s current source water is from the Upper Tualatin River and its tributaries. In the summer, the river level drops too low for reliable use, so Hillsboro customers depend upon water stored in the Barney and Hagg Lake reservoirs to meet demand. If the Scoggins Dam on Hagg Lake failed during a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, the city’s supply could be extremely limited. 

Read the entire article on KOIN

Tualatin-Sherwood, Roy Rogers roads projects begin

Road improvements, along with the installation of a 66-inch water pipeline, are planned.

Long-anticipated roadway improvements to Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood and Roy Rogers roads will begin in Sherwood on Aug. 16.

The Tualatin-Sherwood Road/Roy Rogers Road intersection with Highway 99W has a lot of traffic, especially during commute times and is expected to have more traffic in the future,  the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation stated in a news release. The project improves traffic flow and safety for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists on Tualatin-Sherwood/Roy Rogers Road from Borchers Drive to Langer Farms Parkway.

The $40.6 million project also includes installing a 66-inch diameter section of pipe as part of the Willamette Water Supply Program. That program includes building a 30-mile pipeline from an intake facility along the Willamette River in Wilsonville and pumping the drinking water to Hillsboro. The pipeline also will also be used as a backup water source for the city of Beaverton.

Installing the pipe while the roadway is being done will reduces costs and traffic impacts, officials have said.

The road improvements will include the widening of Tualatin-Sherwood Road where two westbound through lanes will be added, as well as widening Tualatin-Sherwood Road east of Langer Farms Parkway, with a second eastbound through lane added beyond that intersection.

The project also calls for Highway 99W improvements that include adding two eastbound-to-northbound dual left-turn lanes, a westbound through-lane, an eastbound-to-southbound dedicated right-turn lane and a southbound-to-westbound dedicated right-turn lane.

Plans also call for the widening of Highway 99W to add a northbound lane from Tualatin-Sherwood Road to Langer Farms Parkway. Bike lanes also will be added to both sides of Tualatin-Sherwood Road, between Borchers Drive and Langer Farms Parkway, officials say.

Roadwork will be completed in four phases. Tualatin-Sherwood and Roy Rogers roads will remain open during the project.

The first stage of the project, which will last a full year, will begin on the east side of Highway 99W between north of Langer Farms Parkway and Tualatin Sherwood Road. Work also will be done on the south side of Roy Rogers Road between Lavender Avenue and Highway 99W and the north side of Tualatin-Sherwood Road between Highway 99W and Olds Place.

All construction is expected to be completed by September 2024. Money for the project comes from both Washington County s Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program and Willamette Water Supply System reimbursements.

Matt Meier, senior project manager for the county, said plans are to restripe and shift travel lanes throughout the duration of construction with most of Stage 1 travel restrictions occurring during work at night.

However, at one point, Roy Rogers Road at Scholls-Sherwood Road will be partially closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, for five consecutive days in order to remove a median.

That work is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 13 but could change.

Read the article in the Sherwood Gazette

Water treatment facility approved in Sherwood

Planning commission gives go-ahead to build plant on 46 acres off 124th Avenue

Sherwood has given the go-ahead for the construction of a new water treatment facility that will treat drinking water as it makes its way from Wilsonville to Hillsboro.

On Dec. 8, the city’s planning commission unanimously approved the facility, which will be built on 46 acres of land just west of Southwest 124th Avenue that will be accessed along a future roadway, Southwest Blake Street.

The unanimous decision by the commission had no additional conditions of approval, according to Erika Palmer, the city’s planning manager.

Willamette Water Supply Program is building a 30-mile pipeline from an intake facility along the Willamette River in Wilsonville, a project that will be able to provide up to 60 million gallons of water each day but could provide as much as 120 million gallons of water each day. Water from the pipeline will then be sent to the state-of-the-art treatment plant in Sherwood before being sent to Hillsboro residents as well as customers in the Tualatin Valley Water District and Beaverton.

Construction of the facility is expected to begin as early as late 2021 and will occur in phases that will last through late 2025, according to Marlys Mock, a spokesperson for the program.

“The recent Sherwood Planning Commission approval is a significant milestone as we move plans for the Willamette Water Supply System Water Treatment Plant forward,” Mock said. “We look forward to continuing to engage the city of Sherwood and our surrounding community as we construct this important regional infrastructure and begin operations for a new seismically-resilient drinking water supply for partner agencies by 2026.”

Much of the pipeline has already been installed and more is expected along Southwest Tualatin-Sherwood Road between Teton Avenue and Langer Farms Parkway in 2021. That will include widening the roadway there to five lanes — two lanes in each direction and a center lane — in a joint project between the Willamette Water Supply Program and Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation.

The treatment plant will include a forest viewing platform that oversee a nearby wetlands area and include accompanying educational elements about the site, said Mock.

Installation of the treatment plant will join other ongoing projects along Southwest 124th Avenue. Trammell Crow is building five buildings on the southwest corner of Tualatin-Sherwood Road and 124th Avenue within Sherwood city limits, while a 108,000-square-foot Portland General Electric operations center is being constructed on the southeast corner of Tualatin-Sherwood Road an 124th Avenue in Tualatin.

In 2012, Sherwood voters approved annexing the 300 acres of land on the east side of 124th Avenue, south of Tualatin-Sherwood Road, in an area known as the Tonquin Employment Area.

Read the article here. Sherwood Gazette, Ray Pitz,  December 21 2020

Water customers in Hillsboro to see rate increases in 2021

“Hillsboro Water carefully manages drinking water rates, and strives to ensure equity and affordability for all customers,” said Niki Iverson, director of the Hillsboro Water Department. “Water rates are designed so all customers pay their fair share based on how they use Hillsboro’s water system and how much water they use.”

Read the article at Hillsboro News Times

Hillsboro News Time, Max Egener, November 16 2020

Pipeline water treatment plant project to get under way in 2022

Water supply program plans to seek approval to build a new water treatment plant in Sherwood.

Ray Pitz,  Tuesday, August 25, 2020, The Times

An ambitious pipeline project that will result in providing drinking water for those in the Tualatin Valley Water District, along with residents in the cities of Beaverton and Hillsboro, is moving forward with plans to begin construction on a water treatment plant in 2022.

The Willamette Water Supply Program, a joint project between the Tualatin Valley Water District, Hillsboro and Beaverton, is expected to submit a land-use application to the city of Sherwood in September to build an expansive water treatment facility in Sherwood, just off of the 124th Avenue extension, according to Marlys Mock, media and community relations coordinator for the program.

Built on 40 acres of property annexed by the city of Sherwood last winter, the future treatment plant will be constructed on 20 acres of land that will be accessed along a future roadway, Blake Street, west of 124th Avenue. The facility will be able to withstand a catastrophic natural disaster such as an earthquake, according to Willamette Water Supply Program officials.

At the same time, road and other improvements will be made on another 20 acres also owned by the Willamette Water Supply Program.

“There will be pedestrian/bike amenities on Blake (Street) and then Washington County also requires us to build out some improvements on 124th (Avenue). That will be happening as part of this project, too,” said Mock.

The new treatment facility, expected to be completed in 2026, will include viewing platforms that oversee nearby wetlands areas, along with accompanying interpretive signs.

The plant will be able to provide up to 60 million gallons of water per day but is designed for a maximum of 120 million gallons of water each day.

The overall pipeline project calls for the construction of an intake line that originates on the Willamette River in Wilsonville.

Tualatin Valley Water District has customers in Washington County as well as unincorporated portions of Beaverton and Hillsboro. The pipeline would provide a backup source for Beaverton water, city officials there have said, and while the Clackamas River is the main source of water for Tigard, TVWD serves portions of that city as well.

The pipeline will eventually make its way up Grabhorn Road, where two 15-million-gallon reservoir tanks will be built.

“At the top of Grabhorn on Cooper Mountain, that’s where we’re building our reservoir tanks,” said Mock. “We’re planning on starting construction (in 2021).”

In addition, a portion of the pipeline will be installed along Tualatin-Sherwood Road, beginning in 2021 and completed in the fall of 2024. That installation will include improvements to the road between Teton Avenue and Langer Farms Parkway, where it will be widened to five lanes — two lanes in each direction and a center lane — in a joint project between the water agency and the Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation.

The pipeline project is being funded by Tualatin Valley Water District and Hillsboro and Beaverton ratepayers.

Read the story at The Times

Hillsboro Willamette Water Supply System Map And Pipeline Route Updates

This map update reflects changes to the Scholls Area Pipeline Project north section (PLM_5.3).

Hillsboro Water Department has planned years in advance to ensure there is plentiful drinking water today, tomorrow, and in the future for the community.

While Hillsboro’s sole water supply source is the upper-Tualatin River, projections show by 2026 that Hillsboro’s water needs will significantly increase.

To meet future drinking water demand, the City of Hillsboro, Tualatin Valley Water District, and City of Beaverton are partnering to develop the mid-Willamette River at Wilsonville as an additional water supply source.

Design and construction of the new Willamette Water Supply System (WWSS) is underway, and includes building:

  • A modified water intake on the Willamette River at Wilsonville.
  • A state-of-the-art water filtration facility near Tualatin/Sherwood.
  • Water supply tanks in Beaverton.
  • More than 30 miles of large diameter transmission water pipeline traveling north from Wilsonville, through Beaverton, and into Hillsboro.

The system is designed to withstand the impacts of a large earthquake or other natural disaster, and will be built to modern seismic standards to help restore service quickly after a catastrophic event.

Recently, the WWSS system map was updated to show the latest pipeline route and better reflect the timelines for each project. Specifically, the map shows two areas where the preferred pipeline alignment has been refined through design:

  • This map update reflects changes to the Scholls Area Pipeline Project north section (PLM_5.3). Analysis of the preliminary design alignment along Clark Hill and Farmington roads identified significant seismic risks. The updated alignment was selected after several alternative alignments were analyzed for seismic stability, environmental and community impacts, construction feasibility, and opportunities to partner or coordinate with Washington County.
  • This map update also reflects changes to the previous alignment for the Beaverton Area Pipeline Project (PLE_1.0). This alignment was revised and renamed to the Metzger Pipeline East Project (MPE_1.0), after studies concluded the Metzger alignment provides cost efficiency and reduces construction and environmental impacts compared to the original route.

No changes were made to the alignment through Hillsboro, which includes approximately six miles of pipe along the current and future Cornelius Pass Road from the Sunset Highway on the north to Rosedale Road on the south.

The latest map and schedule – updated regularly – can be located online.

Officials boost plan to draw water from Willamette River

A $1.3 billion regional project scheduled for completion in 2026 will supply more for Hillsboro, be a backup source for Beaverton and enable the Tualatin Valley Water District to end purchases from Portland.

When the largest public works project in Washington County is completed seven years from now, it will draw millions of gallons from the Willamette River and deliver the water to Hillsboro, the Tualatin Valley Water District and Beaverton.

For Hillsboro, the Willamette Water Supply Program will mean more water for a growing city — development in South Hillsboro will add 20,000 more residents over 20 years — and for the expansion of Intel and other businesses.

For the Tualatin Valley Water District, whose customers live in unincorporated communities between Hillsboro and Beaverton, the program means a replacement source for water it now buys from Portland under agreements scheduled to end in 2026.

For Beaverton, the program means a new supplemental source of water that is less likely to be disrupted than its current deliveries from Hagg Lake if there is a severe earthquake off the Oregon coast.

Washington County itself forecasts 200,000 more people — the county’s current estimated tops 600,000 — by 2040.

The program manager and officials from the district, Beaverton and Hillsboro spoke about the project at a recent Washington County Public Affairs Forum.

In its simplest form, the project will require a new intake on the Willamette near Wilsonville and a 66-inch pipe for the water to reach a new treatment plant near Sherwood. (Wilsonville and Sherwood already draw water from the Willamette.)

More pipes will carry the water to two reservoirs, each 15 million gallons, on Cooper Mountain — and pipes will bring water to municipal systems in Beaverton, the district and Hillsboro.

Federal boost

Federal loans to the district and Hillsboro, announced by the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this year, will amount to $640 million of the overall $1.3 billion project. Their water customers will repay those loans starting in 2026, once the project is completed.

“A lower cost will mean a lower impact on rates, and we will have excellent water quality from this supply,” said Dave Kraska, the program manager.

District customers will save $135 million, and Hillsboro customers $125 million over the 35-year duration of loans, said Tom Hickmann, TVWD chief executive officer since July. For his customers, he said, the savings will be about $20 on a monthly bill.

“But water rates are going up for us to afford the new infrastructure,” said Hickmann, formerly city engineer in Bend.

Beaverton, which officially joined the program in July, will not be liable for loan repayments. But city water customers will pay for their shares of the new source through higher water bills. The same applies to other cities that may join the program in the future.

No public election was required because no property taxes are being levied for the program.

Kraska said Hillsboro and the district conducted their own studies about where to get future water supplies, but drew the same conclusion that drawing from the Willamette would be the cheaper of several alternatives.

Others were increased capacity of Hagg Lake through a strengthened or relocated Scoggins Dam — the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is scheduled to recommend a preferred alternative early next year for seismic safety — development of groundwater sources near Sauvie Island, or purchases of water from Portland’s Bull Run watershed.

Once Hillsboro and TVWD agreed, Kraska said the joint program was formed.

Regional benefits

Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle said his city would draw up to 5 million gallons daily through the project once it is completed in 2026. (The regional intake is estimated at 60 million gallons daily.)

“i think this is a great example of what we can do when we work together. It forces us to the table to talk about regional issues and the ways we solve problems,” Doyle said.

“More water from different sources enhances our ability to respond to changing conditions.”

Doyle said he estimates city participation in the regional program will ultimately cost between $50 million and $55 million, payable by water customers.

The federal loans to TVWD and Hillsboro came under a program sponsored in 2014 by U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and included in a law signed in December 2016. Merkley said he did so at the request of Oregon local governments that could not find low-interest loans for water projects.

“This law has been a big positive change in that direction,” TVWD’s Hickman said. “These kinds of investments in infrastructure create jobs today … and for tomorrow.”

Niki Iverson, Hillsboro water manager, said the $1.3 billion project is split up so that contractors from Oregon and Washington will have the ability to bid.

“This enables our local contractors to be able to bid on projects and be competitive,” she said. “We wanted to avoid a situation where large national firms were going to come in and construct the entire project.”

So far, Iverson said, 96% of the $118 million spent to date has gone to local construction labor and materials.

Some pipe work already has been done in connection with road projects: Kinsman Road in Wilsonville; 124th Avenue between Tualatin and Sherwood, by Washington County, and South Hillsboro south of Tualatin Valley Hillsboro near Cornelius Pass Road.

“As much as we could, we scheduled much of our work to align with these other projects to save costs and reduce public impacts,” Kraska said.

But the program involves more than 30 miles of new pipes, so Kraska said there will be traffic delays when that work proceeds.

Before any of the new water from the Willamette is delivered, experts will have to test the mix. Kraska said water quality integration is necessary when water is mixed from several sources.

“We are evaluating the impact of bringing in these new supplies into the existing system and making sure we are properly prepared,” he said.

Read Beaverton Valley Times story here.

Our Opinion: Get ready, because there’s construction ahead

Work on Tualatin-Sherwood Road is sure to be a nuisance. But the payoff will last longer.

And as work continues to build a massive new pipeline system from the Willamette River in Wilsonville up to the communities of Hillsboro, Aloha, Beaverton and Tigard, sections of roadway are being dug up so pipe can be laid in the ground. (On the plus side, that water supply work is providing some of the impetus for the county to finally get to rebuilding Tualatin-Sherwood and Roy Rogers roads through Sherwood.)

Continue reading in the Sherwood Gazette

Willamette River water project gains federal Aid

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is awarding two sizable loans that will be used to help pay for $1.3 billion in Willamette Water Supply System improvements.

One loan for $388 million is being awarded to the Tualatin Valley Water District, and the other for $251 million is going to the city of Hillsboro. The money will go toward construction of intake facilities, over 30 miles of pipeline, a water treatment plant and two storage reservoirs.

The program calls for the expansion of the existing municipal raw water intake facility on the Willamette River in Wilsonville, along with construction of a new water treatment plant in Sherwood. The former will be built between 2020 and 2024, while the latter is scheduled to be built between 2022 and 2025.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Oregon Department of State Lands also have approved the project’s environmental permits, while land use permitting is in progress for various elements.

“The benefits significantly reduce the rate impacts to our customers,” Tualatin Valley Water District CEO Tom Hickmann stated in a press release, “while simultaneously helping provide an additional water supply that results in protecting public health with a reliable drinking water source and fueling the economy with jobs now and in the future.”

The EPA has estimated the two WIFIA loans will save the water district an estimated $138.4 million and the city of
Hillsboro an estimated $125.2 million when compared with typical bond financing terms.

Continue reading the article at the DJCOregon