PerkFilter® System Cleans-Up Hall Creek in Beaverton, OR
Undeterred, the city of Beaverton started the process by applying for a capital grant with Metro, the agency that oversees the Portland metropolitan area. Created more than 30 years ago, Metro coordinates regional planning for managing growth, infrastructure and development, often crossing various jurisdictional boundaries while serving an area of some 1.5 million residents.
Beaverton, a community of some 92,000 people, is located about seven miles west of downtown Portland, Oregon. “We wanted to clean up an area of Hall Creek that had become known as the dirtiest section of the creek,” said Debbie Martisak, Project Manager in the Public Works Department in the city of Beaverton. “It was because of the big car lots and mechanics shops that are there,” she added.
In 2012, the city was awarded a significant grant from Metro in the amount of $354,000 to help fund a 650-foot section of Hall Creek. Officially known as the Hall Creek Water Quality & Pathway Enhancement Project, the plan was quite ambitious. According to the Beaverton Public Information office, the goal was to “realign the creek and adjacent trail, reconnect the floodplain, remove invasive plants, stabilize banks with native plants, remove impervious surfaces and create swales for enhanced water quality.”
Martisak noted that the Metro grant amounted to about one-third of the total estimated cost of the project. “This grant really sparked the design and made it possible to have this project happen,” she said. “Without that money, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it. So, with the grant in hand, we went through the design process.
“Putting a filter vault in wasn’t part of the original plan, but the design process indicated that this was the right step to take for our area,” Martisak said. “It became important to us once we went through the design process and began looking at hydrology, pervious and impervious surfaces, and what’s actually flowing into the creek to be treated by this vault. “It’s a very substantial area, an area that’s highly industrial and commercial. It’s in the heart of what we call our downtown. So, we started talking to our agency called Clean Water Services about our plans, and what types of things that they would like to see. They’re a regulatory agency here in Beaverton that provides permits for this area of Washington County.
“They were also a big supporter of our plans, donating plants and their employees’ time. They recommended having a filter vault in this location, to collect all of the runoff on private property and a little bit of public property as well.
“Most of what we were doing was to improve the urbanized area, taking what was a poorly functioning creek and make modifications to the creek that would support the aquatic life and hydrology of the area. It’s a straight and narrow creek, with high velocities that was scouring out the banks by up to four feet. We had to do something.
“There’s quite a bit of area there that was not being filtered, and it was a very dirty area of the city because of the types of businesses that are there. So, we decided to add on a filter vault to our project.” Martisak learned, however, that at that time there was currently only one approved supplier for these vaults. “So initially, we were only getting one bid, which isn’t the way that we do business. It’s not normally cost effective, especially when we’re talking about a $40,000 to $50,000 piece of equipment for our infrastructure.
“Therefore, we requested that they work out and approve another manufacturer and different design. This resulted in Oldcastle® Stormwater getting their PerkFilter™ vault approved in addition to a third manufacturer as well, so now there are more competitors in the area.”
Deon Lourens, Area Technical Manager with Oldcastle Stormwater, explained that there are several advantages to the PerkFilter system. “Its cartridges have no moving parts and no cartridge hood, allowing for easier maintenance observation. In addition, its design allows for fewer cartridges than alternative models, and the bypass flow underneath the cartridge bay limits re-entrainment of pollutants.”
He noted that cartridge lifecycle can range up to three years, depending on the pollutant load. “The cleaner the influent,” he said, “the longer the duration between maintenance cycles.”
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