This letter address the two-part article “Water Rating Indicate Infrastructure Problem” by Dani Palmer that ran Sept. 29 and 30.
We are all concerned about insuring the best water quality possible in our streams and on our beaches. The Surfrider spot testing for pollution in our streams and beaches may be misleading. The City of Cannon Beach was incorporated in 1957 to build a sanitary sewerage system to replace existing septic tanks and drain fields in use. Fortunately there were no combined sewers that conveyed both storm water and wastewater in the city that sometimes led to continued stream pollution in cities like Astoria and Portland.
The original 1958 system and additions in the north end of Cannon Beach and Tolovana Park were planned, constructed and inspected in accordance with Department of Environmental Quality standards. The city was one of the first to use rubber gasket couplers throughout their system. Sewer lines were inspected during construction and tested to insure proper construction. All sewers were also water tested for exfiltration by filling the pipes to a point above the groundwater table and measuring any loss in water. All sewers constructed passed these tests.
The city regularly inspects, maintains and improves our sewer system. This is done by cleaning, visual inspection, TV cameras, infiltration detection, dye testing, etc. Having served on the Public Works committee, I know that the city continues to look for better detection methods and maintains long-term records.
Over the past 50 years, stream contamination has remained a problem. On numerous occasions the city conducted special studies. The problem always seems to be low stream flow, warmer weather and increased sand buildup that blocks and changes stream patterns. In every case, birds and animals were thought to be part of the problem.
A long-term data collection and study is needed. This is not just a Cannon Beach problem, but occurs throughout the Oregon coast. The City of Cannon Beach and all of us should work with Surfrider to have the Department of Environmental Services recognize the statewide coastal problem and how best to identify the real culprits. Dan Grassick, our Public Works director has used some state-of-the-art and innovative technology to investigate stream flows for human contamination and would be an asset for future studies.