The construction of the Big Pipe was part of a federal mandate to protect the Willamette River. With heavy rainstorms, stormwater runoff from our streets would cause our sewer system to overflow – often dumping raw sewage in our rivers up to 50 times each year.
The $1.4 billion project is the biggest reason Portland sewer and stormwater rates have gone up in the last decade. Fortunately, by moving early to meet this legal requirement, Portland has saved millions of dollars in construction costs. Cities like Baltimore, Sacramento and Cleveland are beginning their "Big Pipe" projects, and each have price tags much higher than Portland.
Thanks to our investments in upgrades to our sewer infrastructure to prevent overflows, our local waterways are cleaner and safer for people and fish.
To learn more about the Big Pipe and its effect on our environment, visit the BES website.