Interceptor plans are announced

The city of Lake Oswego is gearing up for construction of a floating sewer line in Oswego Lake and has reorganized employees in preparation for the job.

The Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer project, fondly dubbed LOIS by city officials, is the largest public works undertaking in the city's history.

It will re-place 24,000 feet of concrete and cast iron sewer pi-ping that runs through Os-wego Lake on pilings, with a new, floating pipeline. The pipeline will be the first in the world to float and also maintain a downward gradient that promotes the flow effluent without pumps.

The system collects sewage from smaller tributary lines throughout the city and serves more than two-thirds of the buildings in Lake Oswego.

The existing pipeline is undersized and structurally unsound. The city of Lake Oswego was fined $54,000 by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality in February 2007 for repeated overflows of untreated sewage to Oswego Lake and city streets draining to the lake in 2005 and 2006.

The state agency also tied Lake Oswego to a firm timeline for fixing the pipe by 2010 and construction on the job begins after Labor Day.

Eyeing that start date, Lake Oswego City Manager Alex McIntyre shuffled employees at city hall, putting the city's top engineer and public affairs director at the helm of the sewer interceptor project.

'This is the largest public works project the city has ever undertaken and I really want to put staff out there that understand the project and understand the community,' McIntyre said.

He named former city engineer Joel Komarek director of the interceptor project and plans to hire a new city engineer.

Komarek had been city engineer of Lake Oswego since 2002, in charge of managing, designing, planning and constructing water and sewer projects. Prior to joining the city in 1994, Komarek spent seven years as a design engineer with a consulting engineering firm, working exclusively with municipal clients.

Jane Heisler, former director of public affairs of the city of Lake Oswego, will lead the public outreach efforts for the sewer interceptor project. Heisler has been with the city of Lake Oswego for more than 20 years.

She has previously worked as assistant to the city manager and the community planning manager. She has a master's degree in urban planning and has also held positions as a project planner and associate planner with the city of Lake Oswego.

City officials are expected to hire a new director of public affairs to replace Heisler.

They will temporarily backfill the jobs of Pat McDougal, associate engineer for the city and Susie Shinn, administrative support staff in the engineering department, who have both been assigned to the sewer interceptor project.

One additional communication position will be added to the sewer interceptor project for two years.

Heisler and Komarek may be reabsorbed into the city workforce or assigned to lead expansions in the water system at the conclusion of the interceptor project if that project is also eventually approved by city council.

Additional employees are paid for from the $100 million budget for the Lake Oswego Interceptor Sewer.

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