PORTLAND -- The state of Oregon has rejected the City of Portland's attempt to keep its open-air reservoirs uncovered.
Portland had asked the state for a waiver or variance on covering the reservoirs, after being ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency to cover all open-air reservoirs to avoid health risks related to drinking water.
Recently, the Feds gave individual states authority to enforcement such rules.
Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard, who oversees the Water Bureau says the state's answer was no and he takes that as a final answer.
There is no such variance available for covering the reservoirs so I think it pretty well settles the issue, said Leonard.
The cost of covering all of Portland's open-air reservoirs has been estimated to be as high as $335 million.
Advocates battling to keep reservoirs at Mt. Tabor in their historic, open-air condition promise to fight to keep the water uncovered.
They say they'll ask Oregon's congressional delegation -maybe even the President himself- to give Portland a waiver.
What we need now is some leadership either from the governor or the congressional delegation, said Mt. Tabor resident Floy Jones. The requirement is that we treat or cover to address contaminants that don't exist and it's just an absurd rule.
The city of Portland plans to use revenue from increases in water rates to finance covering the reservoirs starting in 2015.
KGWReporter Randy Neves contributed to this report.