Cottage Grove Water Treatment Plant Superintendent retiring after 30 years of service

Ray Pardee, Cottage Grove’s Water Treatment Plant Superintendent for the past 20 years, is retiring later this month. Pardee was featured in Treatment Plant Operator (TPO) Magazine in 2017.

During the past 20 years, Cottage Grove has had one of — if  not the best — Water Treatment Plant Superintendents in Oregon, Ray Pardee.

On May 26, 2000, Pardee accepted the Superintendent position, replacing retiring Superintendent Brian Ducker.  

Pardee has lead Cottage Grove’s Water Treatment Plant through many changes in the past two decades. He oversaw the replacement of the former Layng Creek Treatment plant — which had operated well past its life expectancy — with new, cutting edge state-of-the-art equipment and technology which produces extremely clean drinking water. 

Pardee and the new plant have received numerous awards and recognition from state and national water treatment associations. 

In October 2017, the Row River Water Treatment Plant received an “Outstanding Performance Award” from the Oregon Health Authority, Drinking Water Program.

Pardee’s love for his job, strong work ethic, attention to detail and commitment to providing safe drinking water to Cottage Grove’s water users is the reason Cottage Grove has an outstanding Water Treatment Plant. 

He worked for and had the support of three Public Works Directors over his tenure as superintendent with the city. Pardee directed the construction of one of the finest treatment plants in the state and assembled one of the best teams of water treatment plant operators in Oregon. 

Anyone involved with, or who has taken a tour of the Row River Water Treatment Plant, City Reservoirs and the two pump stations can attest to how well these facilities are maintained and operated. 

Everything is immaculately cared for with nothing out of place. Many people have commented after touring the treatment plant that it is so clean one could eat off the floor of the plant. 

Every three months, the City Safety Committee performs safety inspections of all the city’s facilities. The treatment plant has received near-perfect scores meeting all the safety criteria. In fact, the most recent inspection was a perfect 100 percent compliance score and this while the plant is under construction expanding the treatment capacity from 4 MGD (million gallons per minute) to 6 MGD.

Pardee is retiring June 30, after his 30 years of service to the city in the Water Treatment Division. He has seen and directed many changes from operating the former Layng Creek Water Treatment Plant 22 miles east of Cottage Grove, to building and operating the current 4 MGD Pall Membrane water treatment system at the Row River Water Treatment Plant. 

Pardee is a leader in water treatment. He has served on several Water Treatment Plant Associations and State taskforces representing small water treatment plant facilities throughout Oregon. One of his most recent task-force involvements was regarding blue-green algae and harmful cyanotoxins. 

He made certian Cottage Grove was aware of new regulations and required testing by the EPA and OHA for treatment plants with known algae blooms in their watershed.

Pardee has also been a leader in educating Cottage Grove’s water users and youth about protecting our water source and conservation of water. 

He produces an annual Drinking Water Quality Report, is a partner with the Coast Fork Willamette Watershed Council, gives educational tours of the treatment plant to local South Lane School District youth, and works with local partners such as the United States Forest Service, Cottage Grove Ranger District and the United States Army CORP of Engineers. 

Pardee is passionate about protecting and conserving our local water source.

Lastly, Pardee is leaving the Row River Water Treatment Plant in excellent hands. He has mentored three very competent, certified Water Treatment Plant Operators with years of experience.

He hired and trained each of them instilling the importance of the their responsibilities to the city’s water user by providing them with safe drinking water, to pay attention to details, and take pride in what they do making sure every job done as close to perfection as possible. 

Whether it is mowing grass, maintaining equipment, or taking water samples, always do your best, was Pardee’s direction.

Pardee has created a legacy of excellence that will address the ever-changing regulations and environmental impacts on Cottage Grove’s water system.


• July 24, 1990, Pardee was hired by Cottage Grove in the Water Treatment Production Division

• 1992, Cottage Grove built a 2 MGD Sand Filtration Plant at the Row River Treatment Plant

• 1992, expanded the 1 million gallon reservoir on Knox Hill to 2 Million Gallon and added a concrete roof covering the reservoir.

• 2004, Installed new roof on the 2.3 million gallon 1954 reservoir.

• 2006, Built the new Holly Water Pumpstation.

• 2008, Commissioned the new 4 MGD Pall Membrane Filtration Plant at the Row River Water Treatment Plant.

• 2009, Highlighted in the Water & Wastes Digest Plant Profile of the month for May.

• 2010, Completed technical assistance to the new Row River Water Valley District.

• 2012, OHA awarded “Outstanding Plant Performance”.

• 2016 Awarded the “Outstanding Membrane Plant Award” from the Northwest Membrane Operators Association (NWMOA).

• 2017 Highlighted in the TPO (Treatment Plant Operator) June Publication as Top Performer for Wa-ter Plants. A national publication that has 68,317 monthly subscribers.

• 2017, Completed the construction of a new Taylor Avenue Pump Station replacing the old Taylor Pump Station and Cottage Heights Pump Station.

• 2017, OHA awarded “Outstanding Plant Performance.”


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