A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riverside path blocked for sewer project

Written July 25th, 2019 by Hasso Hering

People go around a construction site on the Dave Clark Path on Thursday evening.

Now it has started — the big Albany sewer project intended to prevent overflows to the Willamette River during heavy rains. The construction will, among other things, distrupt the middle section of the Dave Clark Riverside Path, where an underground lift station or pump will be installed.

Some digging on the path has started, as people using it Thursday night discovered.

On June 12 the city council awarded a contract for the main part of the project to Pacific Excavation Inc. of Eugene, the low bidder at $7,173,075, substantially below the city engineer’s estimate of $9 million.

The job is to build the wet-weather lift station and a 7,100-foot-long, 30-inch-diamater sewer main from there along Water Avenue and then some other streets to the Albany-Millersburg sewage treatment plant. The contractor has until January 2020 to get it done.

The intent is to take some of the load off the city’s 8,700 Riverfront Interceptor during heavy rainstorms, when so much storm and groundwater infiltrates the main that it can’t handle it all, even though near its end the pipe is 54 inches across. That’s when the flow starts coming out of several overflow pipes and going directly into the river, something on which the DEQ has frowned for years.

The city’s original budget for this project was $13 million, and it got approval of a state loan for that amount. With the less-than-expected construction bid, the total estimated project cost now is $10.1 million. Presumably the city won’t draw on all of the state loan, meaning sewer ratepayers also will have to repay a smaller amount.

But for now, if you use the Clark path, expect to make a detour just about where Madison Street comes in. (hh)

Some of the 30-inch diameter pipeline segments stored near the east end of Water Avenue on July 16.

2 responses to “Riverside path blocked for sewer project”

  1. DSimpson says:

    Having read Cannery Row several times, the photo of the pipes made me realize that the solution for the city homeless problem is sitting in plain sight near the east end of Water Ave.

  2. MsJ says:

    “Presumably the city won’t draw on all of the state loan, meaning sewer ratepayers also will have to repay a smaller amount.”

    Expectedly, Albany citizens will again pay for City blunders/ineptness. This project should have been incorporated with the treatment plant upgrade from over 10 years ago, the Interceptor problem being known well before that.

    As far as DEQ “frowning” on sewer overflows into the Willamette River, well DEQ will have been frowning for 18 years when this project is completed. Sewer overflows were supposed to be Federally banned beginning January 2002 !

    Nice “environmental stewardship” from City & DEQ, the meaning of the phrase is unknown to both.


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