Water line project nearing completion

Public works hopes city water restrictions wrap up in December

Hood River public works crews are racing the snow to get the final segments of a water line expansion project laid this fall.

Crews have been cutting the current 14-inch pipe in zones and transitioning to a 24-inch pipe to increase the city’s water transmission capacity.

While crews got good weather for most of September and October, they have still faced some challenges as the project nears completion.

City Public Works Director Mark Lago said that crews are around halfway done with work for the final segment of the line, which covers about a mile and a half to the city’s water source.

The final portion has been one of the most difficult of the project.

The line leaves the main road and cuts through a wooded area to the source. In order to get in the new 24-inch pipe, 20 feet of trees on each side of the pipe had to be cleared and a road put in.

Additionally rock just under the surface where the line is to be put has required use of a rock hammer to break it up.

While the going has gotten tougher, public work crews and construction workers know they don’t have much time to spare on delays.

“It’s more complicated now because snow is around the corner,” Lago said.

Crews saved the portion of line closest to the source for last because it is currently the driest time for construction in that area because there is less runoff coming from melting snow on Mount Hood.

The project has faced a few other challenges as well, from customers near the top of the line losing water pressure to the city’s Riverdale Reservoir dropping 10 feet.

During the weekend of Oct. 19 the city’s Riverdale Road Reservoir, which usually has a level of around 32 feet, dropped to 21 feet as public work crews temporarily shut off the line to make the switchover between the old and new lines.

“At that point we stopped what we were doing and did nothing but pump for 48 hours,” Lago told the Hood River City Council.

By the following Monday the reservoir was restored to its normal level.

“It’s had some challenges; the crew has worked a lot of extra hours trying to get all this done,” Lago said.

While the going is tough on the final section of the line, Lago is confident the line will be running fully on 24-inch pipe by the end of the month. That means water use restrictions should be going away by mid-December after the new line is fully tested.

While the water line construction should be finished by the end of the month, Lago said some punch list items, such as asphalt patching, will likely have to wait until spring to be fully completed.

He gave credit to the public works crews, construction workers and engineers who have been working to get the project done on time.

“It’s been a real team effort between engineers, public works and construction companies,” he said.

He also thanked water customers, particularly non-city residents who have seen the worst of the water shortages, for their patience and understanding and said that when the project is done it will be worth it.

Said Lago: “In the future we will be able to supply this city with its full water right for many years to come.”

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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