Horn Creek

Horn Creek Water Treatment Plant

In the late 1950’s, requiring a dependable year-round water source, the former Pacific City Water District (PCWD) obtained rights to divert water from Horn Creek located east of Woods. Horn Creek supplied a majority of the drinking water for Pacific City/Woods up until 1993 when the EPA’s mandated Surface Water Treatment Rule (SWTR) went into effect. In short, that mandate required filtration of surface waters that were to be used for drinking water. Because PCWD did possess the funds to build a filtration plant, Horn Creek was taken out of service. From that point forward, Pacific City/Woods drinking water came exclusively from shallow, dune wells.

Fast forward to 2006. Due to the exploding popularity of Pacific City as a tourist destination, it was apparent that the wells could not keep up with water demand especially during the busy summer months. That, coupled with the imminent threat of salt water intrusion into the wells from excessive water withdrawal rates, Pacific City Joint Water-Sanitary Authority (PCJWSA) set about exploring various options to bolster water production, but keep the wells safe from salt water contamination. Many alternatives were considered and analyzed, but the eventual consensus was to re-develop the Horn Creek site. However, that was easier said than done as the issue of funding was a huge hurdle to overcome.

In 2006, PCJWSA placed a question on the ballot for the electors to consider; should a $5.5 million dollar General Obligation (GO) Bond be passed in order to re-develop the Horn Creek facility and make other improvements? By 5 votes, the measure failed. Undeterred, the PCJWSA Board of Directors held community meetings, met with the Advisory Committee and eventually decided to re-submit the question to the electorate at the May 2007 Special Election. By a vote of 232 to 130, the measure passed.

Once the measure was approved, answering the questions of design and construction began immediately. After almost 2 years of pre-design, design, environmental hurdles and regulatory approvals, the project went out for bid. Construction began in earnest in late July 2009. The project was slated to be complete and fully functional by May of 2010. However, due to a myriad of project challenges, the facility did not go on-line until May 23, 2011.

The Horn Creek Surface Water Treatment Plant (HCSWTP) utilizes membrane technology to filter water from the stream. With a 0.1 micron pore size opening, the membranes filter most organic and pathogenic constituents from the water. The filtered water must still be disinfected as required by the SWTR before it can be delivered to consumers for consumption. Since going into operation in 2011, the HCSWTP has been dependably delivering clean, safe and “sweet” drinking water to the customers of PCJWSA.