City of Bend utility crews plan temporary repair work soon at the city's water intake facility, next to the Tumalo Falls parking area, having found cracking in the wall of a nearly 90-year-old steel pipe, officials said Wednesday.

The work is scheduled to begin within the next week and last up to a few days. Visitors to the popular Deschutes National Forest recreation area may see construction crews at work.

The surface water supply is currently shut down for new pipeline construction work.

During the shutdown, crews used the opportunity to inspect about 32 feet of the 24-inch diameter water pipe that exits the intake facility. The video inspection showed some cracking in the wall of the steel pipe. A follow-up visual inspection confirmed the damage.

The pipe that is cracked is the original line that was installed in 1926 to convey drinking water from Bridge Creek to the city of Bend.

In addition to welding the cracked portion of pipe, crews will also be hand-digging in the immediate area to examine the exterior of some portions of the pipe, to see if additional repairs are needed.

The entire intake facility and 10-mile pipeline is scheduled to be replaced as part of the Bridge Creek Pipeline Replacement Project, the topic of controversy and court rulings in recent years. A judge's decision is allowing part of the project to proceed while the rest of the project faces a continued legal fight.

Critics of the project say it's too costly for ratepayers, will take more water and harm fish habitat (which the city denies) and that the city could instead rely on pumped ground water alone.

City spokesman Justin Finestone said the part of the pipe needing repairs is not part of the pipeline replacement project that's currently going under way along Skyliners Road, west of Bend. "This section of pipe will be replaced when we rebuild the intake facility," Finestone said. "That part of the project can't move forward until the lawsuit is resolved. So, we need to repair the pipe to use the system during the peak summer months.".

Construction of the pipeline portion of the project began in March. Replacement of the intake facility will begin when litigation is resolved, city officials said.

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