Sewer projects in the home stretch, in Sellwood

by: David F. Ashton Workers continue to build the structure that will house the Sherrett Street wet weather pump station.

Work continues on the Sellwood sewer projects, which are part of the City of Portland's twenty-year program to control combined sewer overflows (CSOs) into the Willamette River during rainy weather.

The new wet-weather pump station, just west of the Oregon Pacific Railroad Company tracks at the foot of Sherrett Street, are still on schedule according to the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) Community Outreach Representative, David Allred.

'The wet well and underground system is now in place,' Allred told THE BEE. 'They're building the structure that will hold the automated system controls and the emergency back-up generator. The wells, themselves, are deep underground.'

When the rains return later this year, and the system is operational, this pump station will pump the combined rain runoff and sewage in Sellwood back east temporarily for storage, into an abandoned Lents Trunk Sewer line under Sellwood's streets.

Meanwhile, the work at the existing Umatilla pump station at S.E. 6th Avenue and Umatilla - the iconic cylindrical building there - is pretty much complete. 'The system sends sewage to our treatment plant in north Portland,' Allred said.

The pump isn't in the building, though. 'That building houses the automatic control and monitoring equipment. The actual pumps are below the preamble paved area. Hatches there are the lids for the deep wet well.'

The system performed as expected during the heavy downpours in June, Allred revealed. And, the new rectangular structure at the site is for odor control, he added: 'It holds bacteria in a media that absorbs hydrogen sulfide.'

When the CSO program is complete citywide by this December, Portland's combined sewers will overflow into the Willamette River only an average of four times each winter, and just once every three summers, instead of the current average of 50 times per year.