“This great open space really can clear your mind.” Eric Brattain, Fernhill Wetlands Council
Fernhill Wetlands is part of more than 700 acres in Forest Grove owned by Clean Water Services and managed in partnership with the City of Forest Grove and Fernhill Wetlands Council. It is a popular destination for birders who come to see rare migratory birds.
The Fernhill project is creating natural treatment systems or wetlands to improve water quality by removing nutrients, cooling, and naturalizing the water after conventional treatment. In the most recent construction phase, 90 acres of old sewage lagoons were transformed into treatment wetlands by draining the ponds, then drying and excavating more than 200,000 cubic yards of soil into precise contours and depths. Using 15 control structures and 2,400 feet of piping, the water will be managed to encourage the growth and establishment of 750,000 native wetland plants and 3.5 billion seeds that were planted both for water quality and for habitat. Birds and wildlife have taken to the 180 logs and snags that were anchored into place, and human visitors are flocking to enjoy the trail improvements, new outdoor classroom areas and to watch the emerging treatment wetlands.
In 2016 subsurface treatment filter beds will be constructed. When the wetland plants have become established and the natural treatment system is fully functioning, the wetlands will receive water from the Forest Grove Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Water reuse is ultimately a big goal of the Fernhill project. This video puts water reuse into a global context. As the A Thirsty Planet website says, “It is nothing new. We’ve been doing it for centuries. What is new is that today’s technology makes it cleaner and safer. Water reuse is the key to a sustainable future.”
Pure Water Brew
If you’ve wondered why Clean Water Services gave high purity water to home brewers for Pure Water Brew competitions in 2014, 2015, and 2016 this video and fact sheet explain. The beer gets people talking about the fact that all water is recycled, and we can clean water for any purpose.
Pure Water Brew (video)