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Bull Run water coming to Sandy

Council contracts for design and construction management to get the project started

By the fall of 2013, at least 500,000 gallons of Bull Run water should be flowing in Sandy pipes each day.

In action at its most recent meeting, the Sandy City Council approved a contract for design and construction management of about five miles of new water pipe as well as pumping stations and a water reservoir in Sandy.

The contract to design and manage this project for Bull Run water has been awarded to Murray, Smith and Associates of Portland, which proposed to fulfill its responsibilities for less than $630,000.

The highest-price bidder of the three highest-ranked firms was Curran-McLeod at nearly $300,000 more than the winning bidder.

Murray, Smith and Associates has worked for the city previously, expanding the Alder Creek water treatment plant and handling the more recent project of placing downtown utilities underground and completing the streetscape project which widened sidewalks and added planters and street lights.

Murray, Smith also has done other big projects in the metro area such as connecting Sherwood with Wilsonville via a pipe four feet in diameter, and the firm also helped relocate water lines where the westside light rail was to be built.

Bull Run water is needed to supplement the city's main sources of water from Alder Creek and Brownell Springs.

The project would bring water from an intertie with the Bull Run pipeline near Lusted and Hudson roads to a new reservoir in Sandy. Engineers will look for a way to avoid Hudson Road's curves and steep hills.

There has been some talk about burying the reservoir under the parking lot near Cedar Ridge Middle School, which is at the ideal elevation of 970 feet.

But no one has yet asked anyone from the school district it they want to change the existing dirt and gravel lot into a paved lot, with a water tank under it.

When board members of the Oregon Trail School District and the Sandy City Council get together for a joint meeting (scheduled Tuesday, Aug. 23), this topic might be on the agenda, said Public Works Director Mike Walker.

But there are at least three other locations in town, he said, where a reservoir might be located at an elevation of 970 feet or above.

For the city of Sandy, this project should instill confidence in the stability of its water system.

'With this intertie to Bull Run, we wouldn't be dependent on a single pipe running down Highway 26 for our water supply,' Walker said. 'If something happened on the highway, such as a slide, we'd have water coming from another source (another watershed).'

But even more important, the city couldn't afford the expense or the time it would take to use its water rights on the Salmon River.

'We could have been looking at 10 years of environmental studies and legal battles (to tap Salmon River water),' Walker said.

The Bull Run project - which could span more than two years - is expected to employ the equivalent of about 25 construction workers for a year.

The project's total estimated cost is about $9.6 million, which would come from revenue bonds, paid back over time through water-user fees.

For more information, call Walker at 503-489-2162.