The Toledo City Council Wednesday evening got a major update on how things are going on the renovation of the town’s water supply coming from the Siletz River. The system has always involved an intake point on the river on the south bank, directly across from Siletz proper. But that intake system has been aging and becoming less reliable.
So the town is building a new one. And it’s a far cry from what’s there now.
The contractor building the new water intake structure on the river says it will operate far more efficiently and quietly (the intake is across the river from a residential area) and will be adorned with creative natural landscape type murals to make it less visible to those neighbors. It will also self-clean the silt that accumulates in the intake area which will save a lot of labor since it won’t have to be cleaned out by hand. The contractor said the new intake ought to be finished and operating by June or July of 2015.
Getting the water from the Siletz River to Toledo is another phase of the project. Once the water travels from the Siletz River through a pipe to the north shore of Olalla Lake, then a more interesting part of the work begins.
The contractor told the council that getting it across Olalla Lake will be a lot easier than most people might think. He said they’ll keep fusing sections of the pipe together, extending its length further and further across the lake, floating on the surface as it goes. When it reaches the south shore, they’ll attach heavy weights to the full length of the pipe and then fill it with water. The added weight of the water will then push the entire length of pipe to the bottom of the lake.
On the south shore, the pipe will then get more and more fused extensions until it eventually reaches the water treatment plant in Toledo. When the entire new system is inspected and tested, the old Siletz delivery system will be turned off and the new one turned on. That should be sometime in June or July of 2015. Not only will the new system be pushing water throughout Toledo but that water will also be on its way through an inter-tie south of town which runs all the way down the Yaquina River to the coast where it connects to the Seal Rock Water District. All residents and businesses in the Seal Rock area that don’t have wells, get their water from Toledo. The system also has an intertie south of Newport that can supply water the South Beach area if Newport experiences a water emergency.
Back to the ready-to-drink water end of things, a new two million gallon water storage tank, holding treated water ready for distribution, is being built right off of Skyline Drive. There will be a lot of pump station improvements to the system up there as well as additional pumps installed to ensure that residents of the Skyline area, whose homes are at about the same elevation as the tank, will still get good water pressure. That project is expected to be completed well before the Siletz-to-Toledo pipe arrives at the top of the hill.
The contractor told the council that everything looks good – in fact so good that the project will likely come in substantially below the initial estimated cost. That’s good news indeed for the water customers of Toledo and Seal Rock. Again, if everything goes according to plan the spigot gets turned on in early summer of 2015.