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Bull Run Treatment Variance
Image of water faucet: Bull Run variance request
On March 14, 2012, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) Public Health Division released its Final Order granting a variance from the federal and state requirement that the Portland Water Bureau tr​eat Bull Run source water for Cryptosporidium. The Final Order contains important conditions that provide safeguards to protect the health of Oregonians being served by unfiltered Bull Run water. OHA Public Health Division held a public hearing and accepted comments during two public comment periods after releasing its proposed order (Notice of Intent to Grant Variance) in November. See the following for more information:


Background Information
A 2006 Environmental Protection Agency rule, which OHA Public Health Division has authority to enforce, requires that all unfiltered surface water systems install treatment to inactivate Cryptosporidium at the source. Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that can infect humans and animals. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act allows a state to grant a variance from a specified treatment technique if the state is satisfied that treatment is not necessary to protect human health because of the nature of the raw water source.

OHA Public Health Division received a request June 6, 2011, from the Portland Water Bureau to consider exempting the Bull Run watershed from treatment for Cryptosporidium. Portland's Bull Run source must be in compliance with these EPA rules or have a variance by April 1, 2014.

Intent to Grant Variance
OHA Public Health Division has announced its intent to grant a variance to the Portland Water Bureau from the requirement to treat the Bull Run water source for Cryptosporidium.

OHA Public Health Division also proposed conditions that the Portland Water Bureau would need to follow to keep the variance so that appropriate safeguards continue to protect the watershed. See the following for more information:


Public Hearing & First Comment Period
OHA Public Health Division conducted a public hearing to take comments on the intent to grant the Portland Water Bureau's variance request. The hearing was held December 14, 2011, at the Portland State Office Building, 800 NE Oregon Street, Portland, Oregon, Room 1B. This comment period was open until 5:00 PM on January 3, 2012.


Second Comment Period
OHA Public Health Division reopened the comment period due to testing of Bull Run water in December 2011 that showed evidence of Cryptosporidium, as reported by Portland Water Bureau. This comment period was open from January 25, 2012, until 5:00 PM on February 8, 2012.