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LOIS is flush with success

Project is finished and under budget
by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Activity became intense in the closing days of the Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer project. Here, a crane loads a barge at a trestle during the last week of in-lake work. The sewer is now complete.

The last drop of water has been put back in Oswego Lake, and the $94 million Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer project is now complete.

The magic figure of 98.6 feet was reached last week on the lake level's full pool, just in time for the long established goal of completing LOIS by Memorial Day. Since Friday the Oswego Lake Corporation has been releasing boats onto the lake at a rate of 30 per day, and the lake will soon be back to normal.

But the big news is that Lake Oswego has a brand new sewer system, and citizens can flush their toilets with confidence for the next century.

'People tend to take wastewater for granted,' noted Jeff Selby, citizen information coordinator for LOIS.

But the public should take some time to celebrate a project that was highly successful in every way.

'It really did take a village to do this,' said Jane Heisler, LOIS communications director. 'Everyone played a part. We're all Team LOIS. Now the water is back up, and the sewer is under there doing its job.'

'It is a really strong system,' said Jerome Duletzke of Brown and Caldwell, lead engineer for the project. 'Everywhere I go in the community people are all excited that LOIS has been completed under budget and on schedule.'

Perhaps the main emotion the city is feeling at this time is relief.

'People won't miss the pumps and the noise and the traffic disruptions,' Heisler said.

'And no more portable toilets.'

Happily, Bryant Road is no longer fenced off and is almost back to normal, and the only reconstruction work necessary was re-paving on Alder Circle and rebuilding the sea wall at Maple Circle Easement.

'Considering the thousands of truckloads needed for this project it's amazing we only had to re-pave one street,' Heisler said. 'And it was a street that needed re-paving anyway.'

Perhaps the crucial benefit of LOIS is there will no longer be the overflows that occurred during heavy rains, when the city had to send out a fleet of vacuum trucks to suck up the wastewater before it seeped into the canal on Bryant. This was why the Department of Environmen-tal Quality required Lake Oswego to build a new sewer system in the first place.

Looking back on the bad old days, Heisler said, 'There would be overflows every time it rained more than an inch, a couple times a year, and it always happened in a predictable way. The first place it would back up would be the manhole on Cardinal Drive.'

The only work left is adjusting tethers on the pipeline, and Duletzke said, 'I hope we never have to adjust them again. Nothing should change.'

Odds-and-ends work, such as sprucing up lake access points, will continue until June 30.

'This has been such a rewarding, unusual and interesting project,' said Heisler, who has been with LOIS since it began three years ago.

Some events are planned to commemorate the completion of LOIS. At the Farmers Market on June 18 a community 'thank-you' booth will be set up where Selby and Heisler will pass out large posters and tiny toy toilets.

Down the line a 25-minute documentary of this epic project will be premiered for public viewing.