Drinking Water Improvements Coordinated with Woodmansee Park Master Plan Update

Aerial image of woodmansee park

Salem stores drinking water for backup use in a natural underground aquifer in Woodmansee Park. This is called an Aquifer Storage and Recovery system. As part of the City’s continuing commitment to provide safe and resilient drinking water, the backup water system in Woodmansee Park will soon be improved and expanded. These drinking water improvements will be coordinated with a park master plan update that will determine future enhancements.

Drinking water in Woodmansee Park

During the winter months, treated drinking water from the North Santiam River is piped to the underground aquifer in Woodmansee Park. This water is stored underground until there is an increased demand for water (summer months) or an emergency. As it is pumped out of the aquifer it is chlorinated.  It can then enter the water distribution system and be pumped to Salem residents. This project will improve the Aquifer Storage and Recovery system by providing a centralized treatment facility to ensure water recovered from the aquifer continues to meet the high water quality standards Salem's water users have come to expect.  In addition, the project will increase the amount of water that can be pulled from the aquifers in time of need.

  • These improvements will centralize treatment processes and add a system to adjust pH to ensure we continue to meet the requirements from the Oregon Health Authority for corrosion prevention of household plumbing.

  • A small treatment building will be constructed to house the water treatment improvements.

What will I see over the next several months?

  • City engineers and contractors will be conducting field survey work and soil investigations.

  • Surveyors will be placing flagging at various locations throughout the park.

  • A soil boring truck will be working in the park for a few days.

What will I hear?

Most of this survey and investigation work will be completed with minimal disruption. However, there will be a few days of noise from the soil boring truck as the contractor completes soil investigations. The soil boring is anticipated to happen over 2-3 days in late March 2020 to early April 2020. Work will occur on weekdays and during normal business hours.

About the park master plan update

The current Woodmansee Park Master Plan will be updated to include the drinking water improvements and future park enhancements. The City will be looking for input from the public on park enhancements. When the planning process begins there will be a mailing to area residents and email updates. This web page will also be updated with the latest information.

Questions? Contact us

  • Drinking Water Project: Contact Ben Haney, Project Manager, at City of Salem Public Works Department: Email [email protected]

  • Woodmansee Park Master Plan: Email [email protected]

Project updates

If you would like to receive email notifications with project updates and information about this project, subscribe to our mailing list.

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Why are ASR system improvements needed?

The improvements are needed now to address potential water quality concerns.  The new treatment processes will adjust the pH of the water to minimize the corrosion of lead and cooper from household plumbing. The Oregon Health Authority - Drinking Water Services is requiring the City have the ASR water treatment facility built by the end of the Summer 2021.

The City's ASR system provides a critical backup supply for the City's primary source of supply, the North Santiam River at Geren Island. The four existing ASR wells in the park can supply between 5 and 8 million gallons of water per day (mgd) which helps offset increased water demand during the summer when water use is higher. The ASR system improvements will create capacity to store enough water to serve the City in the event that the primary source of water has a disruption of service.

ASR is the most economical approach to increasing water system redundance and reliability. The improvements to the ASR system include planning for future wells, both within Woodmansee Park and at future locations, will expand the capacity of ASR as a backup supply up to 20 million gallons per day.

Why does the ASR system expansion need to be in Woodmansee Park?

During the preliminary planning for this project, the City evaluated alternative sites to locate the Treatment Facility. Criteria used to identify alternative sites included land availability, access and size requirements, location near the existing City's water infrastructure, and cost for the treatment facility. Woodmansee Park was determined to be the best location.

What will the ASR treatment facility include?

The ASR water treatment facility will include equipment for improved disinfection and pH adjustment of the drinking water before it is delivered to the public. Around the new building, additional improvements will be made including landscaping and fencing, a stormwater detention facility, and a dedicated access road off Sunnyside Road SE for maintenance vehicles and deliveries.  Stormwater runoff from the site will be collected and delivered to a new stormwater outfall to Pringle Creek.

How will existing park features be impacted by the ASR improvements?

The new ASR water treatment facility will be located in an area of the park that is currently open space. The layout of the disc golf course will be modified to go around the facility. 

Some trees will need to be removed in the vicinity of the proposed ASR treatment facility. New trees will be planted, and landscaping will be added to provide a buffer and treatment of stormwater runoff. An existing footpath will need to be relocated around the treatment facility.

Driveways to access the new ASR wells are needed and will be integrated with park trails and walkways where practical.

There may be impacts to other parts of the park during construction, but these impacts will be temporary. More details will be provided closer to construction.

Does the Woodmansee Park Master Plan update include the Phase 2 ASR well locations?

The Woodmansee Park Master Plan update includes the anticipated well locations.  Construction of the ASR wells and master plan improvements will be coordinated to minimize impacts to both the ASR system and Woodmansee Park.

Will the new ASR treatment make the tap water taste better?

Not necessarily. The ASR System allows the City to store water in a natural underground aquifer and recover that water when needed.  Water is typically stored in the aquifer for several months resulting in some taste and smell differences as the stored surface water mixes with native groundwater in the aquifer. Typically, recovered water supplies about 15% of the City's water supply during summer months so the result is that drinking water should taste similar to the tap water you normally receive from the City's North Santiam River surface water supply, however some customers are able to detect a change in the taste. 

What is the cost of the ASR improvements and how are they funded?

The initial budget for the ASR project is $11.5 million dollars, funded through water rates. The City has these funds set aside for the new water treatment facility and associated improvements that are included in Phase 1.  The cost of the additional wells that are part of Phase 2 will be determined through design.

The state legislature recently approved funding for the City's ongoing improvements to supply safe and resilient drinking water.

Can the aquifer withstand increased use?

One of the benefits of a Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) system is the ability to withstand increased use.  During winter and spring when ample surface water is available, the ASR system recharges the aquifer with treated drinking water from the City's primary water source (the North Santiam River supply at Geren Island). During the summer, when water is being used from the ASR wells, the volume pumped from the wells will always be less than the volume that has been stored (this is a legal requirement for ASR systems). To ensure that the aquifer is not negatively impacted by the use of the ASR, the City monitors aquifer water levels for both recharge and recovery. This data is provided to the State of Oregon Water Resources Department annually.

How much of Pringle Creek's water gets into the aquifer?

Pringle Creek flows do not infiltrate the ASR supply. The aquifer we are recharging and recovering water from is a deep confined basalt aquifer. This means that there are several layers of impervious material (typically clay and silt layers) between the creek and the aquifer that prevent the migration of water from Pringle Creek to the aquifer and from the aquifer to Pringle Creek.

Contact us

Ben Haney, P.E.Engineering Program ManagerPublic Works Department
8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
555 Liberty ST SE RM 325
Salem OR 97301