Bend citizen panel urges short-term sewer fixes

BEND, Ore. - After months of study, Bend's Sewer Infrastructure Advisory Group has recommended two solutions to relieve specific city sewer system capacity issues.

SIAG members presented their findings to the city council Wednesday night, and councilors are scheduled to formally vote on the proposals at their meeting next Wednesday.  

While plans for a citywide sewer system upgrade are under review, the citizen panel was directed to look for what could be done in the short term to resolve issues that have caused headaches for both the city and project developers in recent years.

SIAG recommended solutions to relieve three critical areas of the city's sewer collection system:  Southwest Bend near the Old Mill and Deschutes Brewery, the West Side Pump Station on Portland Avenue, and north Bend near the Cascade Village Shopping Center.

Criteria for the chosen solutions included the ability to design and bid the project within one year, no need for new bond funding to pay for the project and no new environmental permitting requirements with the state.

One of the group's key factors in focusing on these areas was that these solutions create sewer capacity in employment areas within Bend.

The stakeholder group recommended immediately proceeding with a project that will relieve pressure at both the West Side Pump Station and southwest Bend, at an estimated cost of $3.8 million.

 However, the committee only recommended doing design work for the project in north Bend. That will allow further study on long-term sewer solutions for that part of the city.

SIAG is composed of 17 citizen members from diverse backgrounds, appointed by the city council.

SIAG members are responsible for assisting the city in updating its Sewer Collection System Master Plan, which will guide future improvements to the city's sewer collection infrastructure.  The goal is for the new master plan to be ready in 2014.

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