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Sellwoods new sewers nearly ready for winters rain

by: David F. Ashton This shaft is the facility that will intercept combined sewerage that, for decades has poured into the Willamette River from Sellwood’s outfall pipes during rainstorms.

For the first time since Portland emerged from primordial forestland, it looks like combined rainwater and sewage won't be flowing into the Willamette River from Sellwood outfalls - or any other outfalls in the city - starting this winter.

'Work on Sellwood's Umatilla pump station is mostly complete,' reported David Allred, the City of Portland Environmental Services community outreach staffer.

What can't be seen is the work going on underground in the previously abandoned Lents Trunk sewerline that runs under S.E. Harney Street between the wet weather pump station site and S.E. 19th Avenue. 'Crews are refurbishing the lining of the pipe, so it can serve as storage for the new wet weather pump system.'

A block south, crews have been installing electrical equipment and control systems in the new pump station building on the north side of the Rowing Club driveway, and the system's backup generator has been installed inside the building, Allred said. 'The actual pumps are on-site, and ready to be installed, after the controls are in place and have been tested.'

Workers are also completing a small structure near the pump station, about 10' square, Allred pointed out. 'It's the connection point for the overflow for the interceptor pipe along the railroad tracks. If the station at Umatilla street reaches capacity, this routes the overflow to the new pump station.'

On the north of the driveway, work on the Lents Trunk Sewer Control Structure continues. 'This is where the outfall pipe will be interrupted, and sent under the driveway. There is a 42' pipe connecting it with the new pump house,' Allred told THE BEE.

'We expect to be testing the systems in November; the pump station will be operational by December, 2011,' Allred concluded. And the 'Eastside Big Pipe' sewer project will be completed and activated at about the same time, diverting sewage from the Willamette River, even in wet weather.