(Redmond Wastewater Treatment Plant | Photo Courtesy of City of Redmond)
Long term, Central Oregon will have more businesses that affect the quality of the air, water and land in a region nationally recognized for its natural beauty.
The mountains and rivers draw visitors and new residents to the ski runs, trails and waterways. The region’s economy is no longer based on tourism and outdoor recreation. In fact, the city of Redmond is focused on attracting advanced manufacturing and industrial businesses that pay employees “family-wage” compensation.
Residents are naturally asking: “Can we have both? — The environment we love and the jobs we need.”
Recent interviews with representatives in government, commercial real estate and environmental control businesses attest that local manufacturing jobs and a clean environment can co-exist.
John Roberts, deputy city manager, City of Redmond, explains his oversight on industries, “As part of the permitting process and/or acquiring a business license, all new businesses are required to complete a Wastewater Discharge Report that describes their business and their wastewater discharge characteristics.”
He continues, “This preliminary survey determines whether further environmental controls are required such as pretreatment equipment and/or becoming part of the City’s Industrial Pretreatment Program…”
More than 45 years ago, Federal law created the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And Oregon, among states, was an early developer of mirror EPA laws to guarantee that the state’s irreplaceable natural resources were protected. Today the state’s Department of Environment Quality declares: “Our mission is to be a leader in restoring, maintaining and enhancing the quality of Oregon’s air, land and water.”
Redmond and Deschutes County in environmental quality control oversight on business are guided by DEQ’s rules and regulations.
County Environmental Health Supervisor, Todd Cleveland, says if a business has an incident in the environment, “I don’t know of legal responsibility to notify the county. Likely, the facility has either an air quality or industrial wastewater permit through Oregon DEQ. Usually, DEQ is to be notified and reported on corrective actions…”
Cleveland talks about environment-impacting incidents, “I cannot think of one in which the County was involved in the last three years. Again, most of these will fall under state responsibility. When we have had sewage discharges, County staff worked with local partners to make a public notice regarding potential sewage health hazards in waterways or drainage areas. Thankfully, such incidents are rare.”
Bruce Barrett, Redmond-based commercial real estate broker and president of REDI (Redmond Economic Development Inc.), says he hasn’t met a client or property owner who isn’t concerned about limiting environmental hazards. In fact, Barrett clarifies that REDI’s recruitment efforts focus on environmentally friendly, traded-sector businesses that will fit the standards set by local, state and federal guidelines.
Oregon is a national leader in having strict environmental control laws and local government authorities and businesses understand and obey those laws. The fourth party to assure that Central Oregonians have clean air, water and land are businesses dedicated to monitoring and remediating pollutants, toxic wastes and effluents. See companion article in this issue about Storm Water Services, Inc.
The Wallace Group, Inc., an earth science and engineering practice firm, is based in Bend. It provides clients with environmental studies and environmental permitting guidance.
Shane Cochran is the project geologist and says his firm’s principal environment study issues center on asbestos containing materials and in the instance of a client project impacting wetlands.
“Decommissioning underground storage tanks (USTs) play a large role in our environmental work scope to verify/remediate soil/groundwater contamination. The assessment of wetlands plays a large role in our environmental work scope to determine if wetlands (natural or manmade) require permitting for development, mitigation or redevelopment,” Cochran explains.
The quality of Central Oregon’s environment can only be assured if government, business and specialized monitoring/compliance professionals continue to work together as they have to balance a healthy economy with a healthy region.
Storm Waters Captured & Treated to Keep High Desert Pollution-Free
by Tim Conlon — Conlon Consulting Group
Central Oregon sits on a high desert. Residents and industries are blessed with clean air, water and contaminant-free land. Rain and snow waters aren’t everyday pollution worries what with14 inches of rainfall annually.
And Storm Water Services (SWS), Redmond, is a resource to keep the communities worry free. It provides technology and personnel to prevent toxic storm waters from endangering the region’s rivers, creeks, aquifers and reservoirs.
Dennis Collins, SWS’ vice president of operations, says, “A rainstorm or melting snow on industrial plants and paved surfaces collects toxins as it flows to the stormwater drains. Mandated containment processes capture the pollutants from runoff, but not all sites have these processes. Our on-site hydro-excavation and vactor trucks remove the pollutants from the stored storm water controls. And our decant facility in Redmond accepts contaminated storm waters debris from our trucks so the sediments and fluids can settle and dry.”
Collins explains that businesses are required to capture and treat storm water runoff before it is injected to the subsurface.
He says, “SWS follows the regulations involved with storm water underground injection. The staff manages a site’s storm water controls with routinely scheduled maintenance and record keeping. We offer site specific management such as removal of build-up sediments or other potentially contaminated pollutants.”
SWS’s decant facility employs an environmentally safe process that is monitored and tested for compliance with state regulations.
The facility is available to the public on an appointment basis, and SWS will quote the fee for usage of the facility.
Collins adds, “Storm water containment, removal and treatment is a daily requirement if our neighbors are to be assured their drinking and recreational waters are free from harmful pollutants.”