Portland likely can skip federal water treatment

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Oregon Health Authority says it plans to let Portland skip federally mandated water treatment for the Bull Run watershed. The decision is expected to save water ratepayers in the area more than $68 million.

The decision announced Tuesday is not yet final but expected to go through.

The Oregonian reports (http://bit.ly/uFibr3 ) the ruling means Portland likely won't have to build an ultraviolet treatment plant to eliminate cryptosporidium in Bull Run water. The city has argued for years that it doesn't need to treat for the potentially lethal parasite, undetected in the watershed in almost a decade.

State officials agreed. The Health Authority enforces federal Environmental Protection Agency rules.

This variance would not affect a more expensive EPA requirement: that the city replace its open reservoirs. That project is estimated to cost $400 million.

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com