Aug 09, 2023

Liner leaking at Baker City's new wastewater lagoon


Baker City officials are dealing with two problems with the city’s wastewater disposal system, one involving the $5.7 million project, completed in 2021, to build a new pipeline and storage lagoon.

Joyce Bornstedt, the city’s public works director, told city councilors during their work session Tuesday, Aug. 22 that “it’s just not a very pleasant situation.”

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My opinion concerns the recent “quite a quandary” developments concerning the wastewater project and the contract awarded to Gyllenberg Construction for the new lagoon wastewater facility.

Given the complexities presented in the article, I’d like to understand the specifics of the prior City Council's approval process that resulted in them awarding the $5.7 million contract to Gyllenberg Construction. I am particularly interested in gaining insights into the evaluation criteria and considerations that supported this decision.

I am also curious about the content and findings of the initial DEQ Environmental Impact Study document, presumably dated in 2019, in relation to the new lagoon project. Recognizing its importance in gauging the project's scope-creep, and its adherence to environmental regulations, would be valuable information.

Moreover, I would like to question the city's longstanding practice of diverting “treated” wastewater into the nearby North Powder River, a method employed for several decades doesn’t make it the right thing to do. If there have been recent developments or changes in this old practice, I would welcome any pertinent details.

Thank you for your attention to these inquiries. A deeper understanding would contribute to a more comprehensive Baker City citizen-perspective on the current “quandary” challenges and future directions of the city's wastewater management.

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