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Planning starts on new water pipeline routes

'Multi-generational' project will bring water from Willamette River


Photo Credit: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: KATHY FULLER - Todd Heidgerken of the Tualatin Valley Water District explains proposed pipeline routes to bring water from the mid-Willamette River to Hillsboro.A Nov. 20 open house in Hillsboro brought close to 100 citizens to peruse maps and potential pipeline routes for the Willamette Water Supply Project, a decade-long undertaking to bring Willamette River water to Hillsboro and the Tualatin Valley Water District (TVWD).

It was the final of six open houses highlighting potential pipeline routes from the Willamette River in Wilsonville to Hillsboro and Beaverton. The project began in 2012 as TVWD and Hillsboro city officials studied potential sources for an additional water supply to meet growing industrial and residential demand. The project is a multi-agency, multi-jurisdiction effort to provide a reliable water supply for the next 100 years.

Hillsboro studied four options, including buying water from Portland; the Tualatin Basin Water Supply Project that would raise Scoggins Dam on Hagg Lake; and a plan to develop ground wells near Scappoose. The mid-Willamette River water source was deemed the most viable option. Hillsboro’s water currently come from the Tualatin River, Hagg Lake and Barney Reservoir in the Coast Range.

Water demand in the city of Hillsboro is expected to double in the next 25 to 50 years. The South Hillsboro community will add up to 25,000 residents to the city, while another 330 acres in north Hillsboro are planned for industrial use. Intel is currently the city’s biggest water user.

The project will draw water from the Willamette River near Wilsonville and route it through several cities in Washington County — Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood — to serve Hillsboro and Beaverton.

The preliminary design phase will determine the best routes for the approximately 30 miles of water transmission pipeline, identify potential sites for water storage tanks, and establish a timeline and cost estimates for the project.

There are three proposed pipeline route options running south to north through the city of Hillsboro from a connection point at Southwest 209th and Rosedale Road in Aloha. Two options have the pipeline running through the planned South Hillsboro development area, and then continuing north along either Cornelius Pass Road or Brookwood Avenue/Parkway. The third option would run east on Farmington Road, then north along Southwest 185th Avenue.

All three of the routes will require tunneling under the Tualatin Valley Highway. Tunneling will negate traffic impact on TV Highway, with no need to slow or reroute traffic along the route, said Tyler Wubbena of the Hillsboro Water Department.

He said a decision on the Hillsboro route will likely be made by spring of next year. If the pipeline does run through South Hillsboro, efforts will be made to coordinate construction timing.

Construction may begin as early as next spring to extend Cornelius Pass Road south across TV Highway to create a gateway entrance to the South Hillsboro area.

Willamette Water Supply project manager Todd Heidgerken of the Tualatin Valley Water District said planners will try to route the pipeline along public rights of way wherever possible, with minimal disruption to businesses and residents.

“A 72-inch diameter pipe — it’s a different ball game,” Wubbena said during the open house.

He pointed out that the "socio-economic impacts” of constructing a pipeline with a 6-foot pipe need to be addressed.

Project design, permitting and construction is slated to get under way in 2017, with completion by 2026.

“This is a multi-generational decision,” Heidgerken said.

For more information and to sign up for project updates, go to ourreliablewater.org.


kfuller@hillsborotribune.com
On Twitter: @ReporterFuller

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