Fall Street Reservoir Project


What is the Fall Street Reservoir Project? Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital (the Hospital) is a community-based, 25-bed critical access hospital serving residents and visitors of Depoe Bay, Newport, Toledo, Waldport, and Yachats. The Hospital is working to develop a seismically resilient water supply source to ensure the hospital stays functional in the event of an earthquake. The Hospital is planning to construct a water storage reservoir (i.e., storage tank) on City property within the Fall Street right-of-way between SW 10th and SW 11th Streets that will have two separate functions:

  • In the aftermath of a major seismic event that causes an outage to the City of Newport’s (City) water distribution system, the tank will serve as a dedicated supply to the Hospital.
  • During normal operations the tank will supply the Bayfront as part of the City’s water system.

Why is this project needed? The City is vulnerable to severe flooding and infrastructure damage if a significant seismic event (e.g., 9.0 magnitude) were to occur. An event of this magnitude is expected to limit (or eliminate) its drinking water supply for months and could also endanger the lives of community members. Even a smaller seismic event (e.g., 3.5 magnitude) would likely damage Big Creek Reservoirs. While the City is working to upgrade the Big Creek Reservoirs to improve their ability to withstand a seismic event, the project will take years to complete, and will not improve the miles of distribution system piping that is needed to convey water to the Hospital. Without a reliable back-up water supply, the hospital will be severely limited in its ability to provide lifesaving care.

How will the project work? A new 400,000-gallon water storage tank will be constructed on a foundation designed to withstand a 9.0 magnitude seismic event. The tank will be a functional component of the City’s water distribution system and will be operated in a manner that keeps the tank water levels near full.  A new tank fill pipeline will be installed in the Fall Street right-of-way between SW 9th Street and the tank site which is located at the top of the hill between SW 10th and SW 11th Streets.  An isolation valve on the tank will be connected to the ShakeAlert early notification system and will automatically close upon notification of a significant seismic event, isolating the tank from the City’s water distribution system. A new seismically resilient pipe will connect the tank to the Hospital to provide potable water by gravity for emergency operational use. Under normal operating conditions, City water service to the Bayfront will be routed through the tank to keep water fresh and maintain water quality through the installation of a new water distribution line from the tank to SW Bay Blvd.

Who is funding this work? The Pacific Communities Health District (District) is funding this vital work to promote a resilient water supply for its patients and the neighboring community. The District is a political subdivision of the State of Oregon under Chapter 440 and owns the Hospital facilities. The City is supporting the project by assisting the District in multiple applications for federal and state grant funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).

Who will operate the tank?  Once the tank is constructed, tested, disinfected, and commissioned, it will become a part of the City’s water distribution system. Ownership will be transferred to the City through an Intergovernmental Agreement and the City’s certified drinking water operations team will operate and maintain the tank. Daily operations will consist of routine inspections and monitoring of tank operating levels and water quality. The design of the tank is anticipated to use glass-lined and coated bolted steel that will protect against corrosion and does not require periodic recoating.

What is the project timeline? Project representatives are reaching out to residents who will be most impacted by the construction of a new water storage tank in mid-2023. Data gathering, utilities research, and other technical investigations will take place beginning in Summer/Fall 2023 to inform project design. Construction is slated to begin in Spring 2024 and is anticipated to be completed by early Summer 2025.

What activities can I expect at the site this summer?  In the summer of 2023, clearing of pathways to allow a site topographical survey, archeological survey, and geotechnical investigations will occur. Clearing of bushes and dense vegetation will be kept to the minimum extent possible needed for access to the tank site and pipeline alignments within the Fall Street right-of-way between SW 9th and SW 11th Streets. Mulch will be placed to cover cleared pathways following the completion of field activities. Erosion control measures will include the placement of silt fencing and straw waddles to keep soil and sediment on site during rain events.

What will the impacts be to neighbors? As of June 2023, the project has not been fully designed and the exact dimensions of the tank have not been determined. The project will cause some visual impacts to those neighbors immediately adjacent to the storage tank. The Hospital is committed to working with these residents to mitigate visual impacts. Project team members have already started reaching out to these select neighbors as of late June 2023. To protect the City’s water supply, security fencing will be installed around the tank site and lighting will be provided to support operational activities for the facility. Lighting will be designed to minimize impacts to adjacent homeowners and plantings to shield and screen the site from adjacent neighbors will be considered to minimize visual impacts.

Will roads be shut during construction? Road closures and traffic impacts are likely, but specifics are not known yet. The City and the Hospital will use ample signage and other methods of noticing to best mitigate negative short-term traffic impacts to the community when construction nears. Following construction, SW 10th Street will be paved to provide City access to the tank site.

How can I share my concerns about the project? Please email jconner@samhealth.org.