EWEB staff installing a water main
We’re Making it Easier to Install New Water Mains 10/20/2017

Whether you're building your dream home, or an entire subdivision, we're here to help you connect to Eugene's water system. We've recently made some changes to make the process faster, and more cost-effective for customers and developers.

As part of our Affordability Initiative and a new strategic direction, we're taking a fresh look at many of our programs and services and finding ways to improve. One area that has been ripe for improvement is the development review process for new water infrastructure, primarily main extensions for new homes and subdivisions.

Starting next month, we're implementing a scaled fee schedule for plan reviews, system connections, disinfection and hydrant testing, and inspection and permitting services. Customers and developers will be able to view the fee schedule online, and estimate water infrastructure design and construction services in a simple format. Estimating EWEB costs for development used to take days or weeks, now can be done in minutes.

In addition, we're streamlining and giving customers and developers more control over the design process. In the past, the developer/customer prepared the design for the sewer, storm water and all other improvements, while EWEB designed the water, electric, and joint utilities trenches. With our improved process, we will accept new water mains into our system based on your professional engineer's plans. This will save time and money on your project, while allowing EWEB to focus on providing high quality, essential drinking water services that over 150,000 people rely on every day.

EWEB staff will continue to conduct plan reviews to make sure water mains are designed and sized properly. And to ensure water safety, our Certified Water Distribution Operators will connect the live water main to the new water main. We will also perform hydrant testing, disinfection of the system, and inspection services -- using a scaled fee schedule that will be published on our website.

"We've heard anecdotally over the years that EWEB's processes can feel unfriendly to customers and developers who are building or expanding," says Commissioner Steve Mital. "These improvements show that we can take that feedback and turn it into something positive."

We anticipate developers and customers will save roughly 20 percent in the total costs paid to EWEB thanks to scaled fees and allowing the project's own professional engineer to design the water system improvements.

"We're working hard to increase customer confidence," says Chief Water Engineering & Operations Officer Mel Damewood. "That involves looking at all of our programs and services and asking what we can do better. This is an improvement that benefits EWEB, developers and customers by reducing costs and making it easier to do business with us."

We anticipate adopting a similar process in the future for new electric services, and will continue to find more opportunities to simplify and improve service across EWEB.