BACKGROUND

For 45 years, the City of Redmond (City) has utilized the Effluent and Biosolids Complex, a 610-acre property to the northwest of the City to repurpose and discharge all of Redmond’s treated wastewater effluent and biosolids. The Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF), where the wastewater is initially treated, is located at the north end of the Dry Canyon.

The population of Redmond and surrounding areas have significantly grown since the last major WPCF Expansion in 2000. The population of Redmond and surrounding areas is expected to increase; as such, the need for an expansion of the treatment facilities is vital to serving growth.

The City plans to expand the 610-acre Effluent and Biosolids Disposal Complex and transition its operation to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly treatment alternative. As early as 1984, the Effluent and Biosolids Disposal Complex was identified as a preferred location with long-range opportunities to treat and dispose of wastewater while also offering sustainable development opportunities.

The City will be decommissioning the existing mechanical WPCF in the dry canyon and expanding all operations to 5801 NW Way, Redmond. In addition to the City’s 610-acre Effluent and Biosolids Disposal Complex, the city leases 35-acres from the Federal Bureau of Land Management, at the site where disinfected water is infiltrated into the ground.

The City is underway with the preliminary design phase of the development of the Redmond Wetlands Complex, with the final design expected to be completed in December 2022 and construction beginning in February 2023. The proposed Redmond Wetlands Complex will utilize ponds and wetlands that are engineered to treat wastewater.

Constructed wetlands are increasingly receiving national attention for wastewater treatment and reclamation. Constructed wetlands have proven to be a very effective method for the treatment of municipal wastewater. They are a sustainable, cost-effective treatment solution that is easily operated and maintained while supporting wetland habitat for birds and other wildlife and offering recreational and educational opportunities.

EXAMPLES OF WETLAND PROJECTS

If nature itself can cleanse water, then imitating nature’s processes may be the most effective and sustainable way of treating wastewater.

View examples of state-of-the-art wastewater treatment processes that capitalize on community beneficial uses while integrating educational opportunities and open spaces for the public. Similarly to the Redmond Wetland’s Complex, these projects expand the capacity of wastewater treatment while also creating sustainable assets for the community.

Redmond Wetlands Complex

CROOKED RIVER WETLANDS

Redmond Wetlands Complex

ARCATA MARSH & WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

Redmond Wetlands Complex

LADD MARSH WILDLIFE AREA

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FAQ

Engaging with the community, gathering feedback, and keeping people informed about the expansion and wetlands project is a priority to the City. The City will offer multiple opportunities to learn about the project and review the initial site layout during the design phase. Throughout the summer and fall of 2021, the project team will be gathering feedback from the public and stakeholder groups.

Effluent and Biosolids Disposal Complex

5801 Northwest Way, Redmond OR 97756

For 45 years, the City has repurposed and discharged all of Redmond’s wastewater effluent and biosolids at the complex.

The City of Redmond Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) was constructed in 1978. Since then, several upgrades have occurred to meet the community’s growing needs. The population of Redmond and surrounding areas has significantly grown since the last major WPCF Expansion in 2000. The population of Redmond and surrounding areas is expected to increase; as such, the need for an expansion of the treatment facility is vital to provide facilities to serve growth.

As early as 1984, the Effluent and Biosolids Disposal Complex property was identified as a preferred location with long-range opportunities to treat and dispose of wastewater and the resources captured from wastewater.

Seeking a sustainable solution, the City began exploring a more holistic and cost-effective way to expand its wastewater facilities. Through a significant planning effort initiated by the City 2018, the Redmond Wetlands Complex was selected as the preferred treatment alternative. It was determined that the Redmond Wetlands Complex would account for decades of future population growth within Central Oregon and additionally provide ancillary benefits to the region.

The treatment of wastewater in a natural biological process rather than a mechanical process results in lower operational and maintenance expenses. Additionally, this natural process reduces or removes chemical usage, noise, and visual pollution that affects neighbors. Wetland’s treatment and disposal provide habitat for a variety of species of plants and wildlife.

During the 2020 calendar year, 244,000,000 gallons of disinfected effluent were used to irrigate 149-acres of Orchard Grass Hay. An additional 597,000,000 gallons of disinfected effluent were returned to the groundwater aquifer by means of 4 medium-rate infiltration basins located on 35 leased acres of BLM land.

A total of 4,398 tons (8,796,000 pounds) of biosolids were processed on-site, of which 2,164 tons (4,328,000 pounds) were applied as fertilizer directly to the cultivated fields. The balance of 2,234 tons (4,468,000 pounds) of biosolids was dehydrated on the 4-acre asphalt drying pad located on the southern side of the property. These dried biosolids were utilized as fertilizer for local area agriculturists.

The re-use of these wastewater treatment resources produced 519 tons of high-quality Orchard Grass Hay.

The overall operations site layout will include treatment lagoons, treatment wetlands, disposal wetlands, the main division building, a maintenance building, a generator building, a Vacuum/Jetting truck receiving station, headworks screening, along with associated roads and parking areas.

The possible recreational opportunities include ADA paved trails, interpretive/nature trails, bikeways, informative kiosks, wildlife viewing areas, covered pavilion, public restrooms, etc.

Emphasis will be placed upon maintaining a balance between blending into the natural landscape, public benefit, unfavorable impacts to the surrounding community, and cost-effective, sustainable development.

The expansion of the Water Pollution Control Facility will meet Redmond’s growing needs through adding ponds and a constructed wetland system, the Redmond Wetlands Complex. You can see an initial concept here.

The expansion project is the most cost-effective way to increase the City’s wastewater treatment capacity.  Not only are the initial capital costs lower than other treatment options, but the long-term operations and maintenance costs are also a fraction of operating other types of treatment facilities.

Additionally, with such a significant asset of City property at the current disposal complex, maximizing the use of that land while creating public open space increases the function of the property.

Currently, there is a minimal presence of City Staff at the current Effluent and Biosolids Disposal Complex. This has resulted in misuse and vandalism of the complex itself and the adjoining land currently managed by the Bureau of Land Management. It is anticipated that the Redmond Wetlands Complex will provide a regular presence of personnel on-site to prevent misuse of the area, halt illegal dumping, and beautify the area.

There will also be the benefit of fire prevention measures in debris removal and the presence of water bodies that will create fire breaks in an otherwise arid area.

A water pollution control facility collects and treats municipal and industrial wastewater. As part of the treatment process, pollutants that could negatively impact the environment or human health are removed.

Wastewater is water that has been used and must be treated before it is returned to the environment. It includes household waste liquid from toilets, baths, showers, kitchens, and sinks, that is disposed of via sewers. Wastewater treatment uses physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove organic, inorganic, and biological contaminants.

  • Removes Solids– This includes everything from rags and sticks to sand and smaller particles found in wastewater.
  • Reduces Organic Matter and Pollutants– Helpful bacteria and other microorganisms are used to consume organic matter in wastewater.
  • Disinfects – The process is designed to kill or inactivate most microorganisms in wastewater, including all pathogenic organisms.

The existing facility will be decommissioned. The City is in the early stages of considering the best options for repurposing the site.

It takes approximately five years to plan, design, and construct a project of this size.

Currently in Phase 1: Preliminary Design, March 2021-February 2022

Phase 2: Final Design, March 2022- December 2022

Phase 3: Construction, February 2023- December 2024

Access to residences will be kept open throughout construction.

It’s difficult to predict precisely what the wetlands odor will be at the Redmond Wetlands Complex but, odors associated with treatment wetlands are typically faint and earthy. It’s been claimed that the odor is like the odor produced after a rain event.

Within a thirty-minute drive of Redmond, the Prineville Crooked River Wetlands Complex, constructed in 2017, offers an excellent opportunity to experience a treatment wetland in operation.

Ensuring the Redmond Wetlands Complex does not create odor pollution for the community is a priority to the City. Throughout the project and facility’s operational entirety, the City will work closely with the community to minimize any unfavorable impacts of the Redmond Wetlands Complex.

Since June 2021, the City has been under contract with Four Rivers Vector Control District to perform a mosquito study at the proposed project site. Mosquitos are being trapped and counted weekly at five representative locations to develop a baseline for the mosquito population. The City will perform future studies once the project is constructed and operational to evaluate the impacts of the project on mosquito populations.

The Prineville Crooked River Wetlands Complex analyzed the effects of treatment wetlands on mosquito populations. Their findings concluded minimal evidence of increases in mosquito populations but did see an increase in the midge fly populations. Midges are generally considered harmless, although their swarms are noticeable.

Ensuring the Redmond Wetlands Complex does not augment mosquito populations in the area is a priority to the City. If it is determined the project increases mosquito populations, the City is committed to implementing management strategies that are practical and effective to protect public health and the environment.

The main vehicular access point will be maintained at the current location off NW Way.  The gate will generally be open from dawn to dusk while City staff is present.  Trail access from adjacent properties will remain unchanged.

The City has been discharging treated wastewater at the site for decades with no impacts to groundwater.  The City uses ground water monitoring wells as required by DEQ to ensure water quality is maintained.  With the use of disposal wetlands the infiltration rate of the water will actually be slower than current City operations.  Additionally, the City will no longer be applying biosolids at the site, eliminating an additional source of constituents.

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