Oregon Public Broadcasting

Bend's City Council is taking a close look at its plans to build a surface water filtration system.

Federal regulations require the city complete the facility by 2014.  But those rules could now be in flux.

City planners are continuing work on a planned $70 million upgrade to Bend's surface water system. Those plans call for a state-of-the-art membrane filtration system to meet EPA requirements for treating surface water.

The filtration system costs $25 million. But last month the federal agency signaled it would review the rule.

Speaking at a meeting of the Bend City Council, Mayor Jeff Eager suggested the council try to work with the state to push back its deadline until the future of the rule is more certain.

City councilor Mark Capell agreed, but pointed out with millions of dollars in ratepayer money on the line, time will be of the essence.

"The thing that worries me about this more than anything is we can't wait six months for an answer, because we're moving forward and we're spending money."

Portland is also anxiously awaiting word from the EPA.  Planners there are wrestling with the immense costs that would come with making major changes to the city's water system to meet the requirements.

This story originally appeared on news.opb.org.

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