The Salem Demonstration NRS project allows us to pull together elements of the natural sciences, engineering, agriculture, and the community to help us understand our options. The concept is to demonstrate the use of natural systems as a sustainable method of improving water quality, provide reclaimed water supply and management, and to determine whether this technology is appropriate within the Willamette River watershed.
NRS is a five-year demonstration used to determine whether a constructed wetland approach can provide reuse water for farming and could provide us with a new way of dealing with treated wastewater, reusing it instead of directly discharging it into the Willamette River. We will be able to examine whether the use of constructed wetlands will reduce water temperature and create a more livable environment for endangered fish species.
We are using approximately 40 acres adjacent to the Willow Lake Wastewater Treatment Plant for this project which will be operated for 5 years, to test its effectiveness in polishing summer flows. Of special interest is the capability of the NRS to reduce water temperatures and ammonia concentrations during the summer.
Using data obtained, the City will evaluate the water quality benefits, economic benefits, public acceptability, and environmental effects of the NRS technologies. The information will be analyzed to determine if these technologies are the right choice for Salem and will benefit the broader Marion and Polk County communities.