“We’re transforming Fernhill into an area of enhanced wetlands and natural treatment wetlands.” John Dummer, Principal Engineer, Clean Water Services

Water Treatment

A Natural Treatment System (NTS) creates an ecological bridge between treatment and the watershed, where water is cleansed further, cooled and naturalized before its return to the river.

Fernhill Natural Treatment System

In 2012, Clean Water Services (CWS) began to create Natural Treatment System wetlands at Fernhill. The NTS wetlands are designed to guide water through thousands of native plants that cool and naturalize the water while absorbing nutrients. Freshly-aerated water tumbles to Fernhill Lake through an artfully planned water garden.

Water Garden Narrow

Supplying Water to the Wetlands

The water bringing life to the wetlands at Fernhill is cleaned wastewater. The highest quality recycled water was pumped from Clean Water Services' Rock Creek Facility 17 miles away. Once the wetlands are functioning as intended, the nearby Forest Grove Facility will supply the water.

Future Plans for the Natural Treatment System

CWS will continue to construct treatment wetlands at Fernhill, including underground filters. In a few years, there will be enough water to irrigate crops, beginning with the fields near Fernhill. The schedule will adjust to the usual variables.

Bridges Narrow


One aspect of the Fernhill project is water reuse. This video puts water reuse in 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.”