News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Rain complicates sewer line relocation

Mother Nature was not cooperating last Friday morning on the Locust Street sewer line relocation project. She sent much-needed rain to our parched area, but it added significantly to the water in Whychus Creek being redirected through a five-foot-wide culvert under the Locust Street bridge.

Early Friday morning a monitoring station above Sisters recorded a rate of flow in Whychus Creek of 20 cubic feet per second (cfs) and later in the morning it had increased to 55 cfs.

A crew from Robinson & Owen Heavy Construction was working to divert water from upstream behind sandbags through the culvert to the creek below the bridge, to keep the section of creek bed dry where the trench for the new sewer line needs to be dug. The digging will go across the creek bed under the culvert.

River Design from Corvallis was on hand to salvage any fish in the designated area, to be moved downstream. That was accomplished by conducting an electric current through the water to stun any fish so they could be collected. The turbidity of the water made for better conduction but made it more difficult to see any stunned fish, which rolled over and floated to the surface. The River Design people reported only retrieving a couple of sculpin and no endangered or invasive species.

The new sewer line is being imbedded under the creek bed to avoid any damage during high water events. The current line is mounted on the upstream side of the bridge and vulnerable to damage from debris coming down the creek. When the new line is in place, the old line will be removed.

The $315,079.75 relocation project has been funded by a 75 percent grant from FEMA, $115,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, and from the Sisters Sewer Fund.

Full project completion is expected in late October 2021.


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