My sweetie zaiah has her master’s degree in engineering with an emphasis in water resource engineering, so last weekend she scored us seats on an eight and a half hour tour of Portland’s water collection and distribution network.
Which was pretty cool, actually, even if it did mean getting up at 7 AM.
Of the thirty or so people on the tour, I was the only one without a degree in engineering and/or working in the field of water resource management.
Portland’s water supply is interesting. The city’s water comes from the Bull Run watershed, which includes streams, rivers, and lakes in the Federally protected Bull Run watershed district–a largely pristine temperate old-growth rainforest.
It starts in places like this–streams fed by rain and springs. You can almost drink the water straight out of the stream here (at least if it weren’t for the possibility of microorganisms)–the water’s so clean that Portland doesn’t do any filtration at all. They chlorinate it to kill bugs, and they let it sit for a while in huge underground bunkers to give sediment a chance to settle out, but other than that it’s straight from here to the pipeline.
Well, with the exception of a couple of dams along the way.
And the dams are, heh heh, pretty damn cool, heh heh. Clicky here to see more!