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City of Rogue River to bolster water reserves

Work will begin Monday on a 1.2 million-gallon reservoir to bolster the city of Rogue River's drinking water supplies.

The $2 million project, funded by city water improvement funds and a loan from the state's Safe Drinking Water program, was awarded to Ward-Henshaw Construction of Canby.

For city officials, construction can't happen soon enough.

"With work on Gold Ray Dam, river turbidity has been up," said Public Works Director John Krawczyk.

"Particularly with (Tuesday) night with the storms in Medford, the turbidity went way up and we can't treat high turbidity, so storage is important to the city."

The turbidity forced the system offline Tuesday, prompting the city to rely on backup wells until levels can return to normal, Krawczyk said.

"Right now our treatment plant is offline and we're running on wells, but we don't have capacity for summer demand going just off the wells," Krawczyk said Thursday.

Storage tanks provide backup supplies when usage is particularly high, for irrigation purposes or summer use, or the city's river supply has been compromised.

Currently, the city has a 250,000 gallon steel tank and a 500,000 cement tank at a city-owned spot above Stiehl Lane, northeast of downtown.

Plans are to replace the smaller steel tank with the 1.2 million gallon reservoir to more than double the city's water storage capacity from 750,000 gallons to 1.7 million gallons.

— Buffy Pollock