PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Does Mount Hood’s Timberline Lodge have leaky pipes? According to a new lawsuit filed by the U.S. Forest Service, which owns the historic lodge and ski resort, the pipes installed less than 10 years ago are defective and the feds are looking to get their money back.
In the early 2000s, the aging water systems at Timberline Lodge began to fail, and it was recommended by the Forest Service’s contractors that the pipes be replaced with copolymerized polypropylene, or “PP-R,” pipes, which were marketed as cheaper and more environmentally friendly, according to the lawsuit. These new pipes were purchased in 2013, installed in 2014 and advertised to last for 50 years through aggressive conditions, federal attorneys said in the lawsuit.
During summer 2019, the new “PP-R” pipes allegedly began to malfunction, causing leaks that threatened to damage the lodge. The U.S. Forest Service reached out to Aquatherm, the German manufacturer of the “PP-R” pipes, about the damaged pipes, which included submitting a claim form and sending in several samples of the pipes which the manufacturer said were undamaged.
Aquatherm offered to send new pipes but did not offer to cover the cost, which under their warranty should have been paid for, according to the lawsuit, which also named Ridgeline Mechanical Sales and Ferguson Enterprises as co-defendants.
The leaks continued over the following years, most recently occurring in June 2022, the suit claims.
The lawsuit states the U.S. Forest Service hired a private consultant to analyze the pipes, resulting in the conclusion the pipes were being degraded from the water inside and that all of the pipes in Timberline Lodge needed to be replaced.
Aquatherm has yet to issue a report on the malfunctions and has not offered a decision on if they will honor the Forest Service’s warranty, the U.S. attorneys said in the claim, resulting in the U.S. Forest Service filing for a $2 million lawsuit to reclaim the costs of replacing the pipes.
KOIN 6 News has reached out to the manufacturer and distributors for a statement. Ferguson Enterprises says it will be defending itself and the manufacturer “vigorously.” Aquatherm and its other co-defendant, Ridgeline Mechanical Sales, have not gotten back to KOIN 6 News with a statement.