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If you have questions or input, please don't hesitate to reach out to the project team at 541-685-7899 or

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In mid-2021, EWEB began construction on two partially-buried water tanks on an undeveloped property near East 40th Avenue and Patterson St. New water storage tanks are one of several investments EWEB is making to ensure that we can meet critical community needs in the event of an earthquake, including having water available for fire suppression and drinking water distribution.

Frequently Asked Questions

Latest news and updates

Oct. 25, 2021: Following is a round-up of recent activities on the water storage project.

Third-party pre-blast home inspections are nearly complete. TerraFirma will email the reports directly to homeowners this week.

The additional, unplanned work to reduce the slope angle on the west side of the site is complete.

Excavation of topsoil around Tank #1 (east side) is nearing completion. Excavation for Tank #2 (west side) is about 60% complete.

Drilling is beginning this week. Drilling hours are anticipated to be 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. M-F. We expect this will be the noisiest phase of the project and will last 6-8 months.

Blasting is tentatively scheduled to begin this Thursday (10/28) at 1 p.m. The first blast will be a small, test. Starting next week, blasting is expected to take place on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1-1:30 p.m.

Six seismographs/vibration monitors have been installed around the perimeter of the site.

In the next couple of weeks we will be installing a temporary construction power supply. The new conduit will be bored from an electric box near 4065 Hilyard St. There could be traffic impacts on Patterson St. that day.

EWEB, the contractor and City staff continue to work together to adjust and improve stormwater management. The switch from dry weather best management practices (BMP) to wet weather BMPs is causing some mud build-up on Patterson St., and we have requested a meeting with the City so that we can make adjustments that align with our erosion control permit.

The contractor is sweeping Patterson St. multiple times a week to keep mud to a minimum. We have asked the contractor to move the "biobags" during street cleaning and then replace them afterward. This should help keep bags and surround areas a little neater.

Benches are here! We will be putting two on the west side of the construction site and one on the east side to provide a place to watch the construction.

Detention pond collects runoff

Just in time for the rainy season, a detention pond has been built to collect runoff from the site. Water is funneled to this low spot and treated with a chemical called Chitosan which works as a flocculant, binding sediment together in a mat which then settles out in the pond. Clean water is then discharged via a pump to the City's storm system.

For now, the pump is being operated by a diesel generator, which will be noisy when running. Once power is supplied to the site, the pump will be run off electricity.

Eventually the pond will be replaced by a permanent rain garden/swale that will collect runoff from the site and discharge it to a newly constructed stormwater system. Long term this will have the same function as the pond but will not require pumping and will flow by gravity to the City's stormwater system.

Read previous news and announcements

Underground Controlled Blasting FAQ

What is underground blasting?
Underground controlled blasting is a common infrastructure construction method used to break rock for excavation. Holes are drilled into the rock for placement of the blasting agent. Packed dirt is added to holes and above the rock. A seismograph records blast vibrations to verify they are within specifications.

Is it safe?
Yes. Controlled blasting is highly regulated and conducted using safe methods and procedures by trained professionals. Blasts will be monitored by seismographs to maintain acceptable levels of ground motion in conjunction with vibration controls. Each blasting event will occur only after verification of all safety precautions and the site is deemed cleared and secure by the blaster-in-charge.

What can I expect to hear/see/feel?
Air horn safety signals will sound 5 minutes and 1 minute before the blast and at the conclusion of the blast. In addition to the air horn, those very near to the construction site may feel a vibration comparable to a door slam or a large truck driving down the street. Dust suppression systems and heavy blasting mats will be in place to minimize vibration and debris.

Watch an example of controlled underground blasting.

When will blasting occur?
Blasting activity will likely begin the second or third week of October and continue for approximately six months. Current plans call for a blasting event once a day between 1-1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The blasting schedule is subject to change and to the extent weather or project schedule necessitates blasting outside of those times, blasting would occur during daylight hours Monday through Friday. No blasting will be performed weekends or federal holidays.

What should I do to prepare?
Residents living adjacent to the project site may wish to keep windows closed for the brief period of the blasting, between the one-minute signal and the following all-clear signal. If you are near the construction site and hear an air horn, please be aware blasting activity will occur shortly and follow instructions of site personnel or any additional signage that may be posted.

Facts about the project
  • The property, which EWEB purchased in the 1950s specifically for this use, is more than 10 acres and approximately 2.5 acres will be used for water storage.

  • The two 7.5 million gallon tanks will be concrete, partially buried, surrounded by wrought-iron fence, and will have vegetative screening to blend in as much as possible with the existing landscape.

  • A new 36-inch water transmission main will be constructed between West Amazon St. and the intersection of East 40th Ave. and Patterson St.

  • 265 trees were removed for construction of the tanks (approximately 25% of the total trees on the site).

  • Downed wood was kept in the community. Most was donated to a City of Eugene wetlands restoration project, where they will continue to provide habitat long into the future, and for public use projects in the Southeast Neighborhood and also the City of Springfield.

    • After construction, the remainder of the property (approximately 8 acres) will remain open to the public. Habitat will be restored or enhanced to support a diverse community of native plants and animals, with a focus on restoring oak and prairie-dominated habitat that historically characterized the area.

  • The entire construction process will take around 3 years from earthwork to re-landscaping.

Important considerations

As is common with major infrastructure projects, EWEB has invested years in the research and planning process for the water storage at East 40th, including an ecological survey, geological report and a Triple Bottom Line assessment to evaluate construction options from the perspectives of habitat impacts, costs and disruption to the site and to neighbors. The research and planning process has been invaluable to our ability to make a well-informed and sustainable decision for the entire community that we serve.

Here are some of the considerations that have gone into the design of the E. 40th water storage facility:

    • Drinking water safety and quality - This is paramount. All final decisions around aesthetics and public access must ensure that drinking water and the facilities/equipment that distribute that water are secure and protected from contamination and service disruptions. 

    • Elevation - The top of the water surface must be at 607 feet above sea level and the tank height must match other planned and existing tanks to meet the hydraulic pressure requirements of gravity-supplied drinking water storage.

    • Access - Adequate access is required for maintenance and emergency vehicles.

    • Future planning - The site layout must accommodate one additional tank in the near term, and space for future replacement in 50+ years.

    • Proximity to residences - To the extent possible, maximize the distance between construction and location of tanks and neighbors' property lines.

    • Viewsheds - Minimizing permanent visual impacts by preserving trees and minimizing the number of neighbors who have changes to their viewscapes.

    • Truck traffic - Minimizing construction truck trips generated by the removal of mass excavation spoils and the import of backfill material. 

    • Construction duration - Minimizing traffic, noise, dust, vibration and disruption on Patterson Street during utility installation. 

    • Habitat - Minimizing impacts to Strategy Habitats (according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Oregon Conservation Strategy) that are of greatest conservation need and provide important benefits to Strategy Species.

    • Equipment emissions - Minimizing CO2 emissions from construction equipment and trucks.

    • Trees - Minimizing the removal of trees overall and remove trees only when it is necessary to do so.

    • Comparative construction costs - All EWEB customers will bear the cost of these improvements. As always, we seek to be efficient and manage operating costs for the benefit of all customers and without creating inequity or disparities across geographic or income groups.

Tank siting and construction

The tanks will be sited on the eastern-most portion of the site, on the north side of the ridgeline and both tanks will be constructed concurrently. 

Why this location?

A Triple Bottom Line (TBL) assessment developed by an outside engineering firm revealed there is approximately $1 million difference in construction costs between various tank location options, and no significant difference in the construction process or the total number of trees impacted. However, the location on the eastern-most portion of the site came out ahead in all TBL criteria evaluated, and has a few distinct advantages:

  • Minimizes impacts to an Oregon Strategy Habitat
  • Requires the least amount of rock excavation, reducing the duration, noise, and cost of construction
  • Impacts the viewshed for the fewest neighbors

Why construct both tanks concurrently?

In addition to the TBL prepared by the outside engineering firm to help determine tank placement, EWEB prepared a second Triple Bottom Line assessment to understand the impacts of constructing both tanks concurrently, compared to the preliminary plan of constructing one tank in 2021, and a second tank in 2030.

For both options, we assessed costs, duration of construction, total number of truck trips, impacts to Patterson St. traffic, and disruption to the site and to neighbors. Looking at several criteria, we determined that building both tanks concurrently has some notable advantages:

  • Provides 15 MG of secure water storage in the least amount of time (replacing College Hill)
  • Saves approximately $1,400,000 (2021 Net Present Value)
  • Consolidates the work into a single disruptive period, avoiding a second round of neighborhood disruption
  • Limits Patterson St. wear and tear and coincides with City of Eugene street repairs
  • Results in 2,100 fewer truckloads, reducing noise, street damage, and carbon emissions

It is estimated that constructing both tanks concurrently will disrupt the site for a total of 3 years, compared to a total disruption period of 4 years under a staggered construction schedule.

Graphical renderings

Community involvement

We are committed to ensuring all customers have access to information about the project, including timeline, benefits, and costs. Those who are highly interested and directly affected, such as site neighbors, will receive up-to-date project details, and have opportunities to share feedback, concerns, and aspirations. 

Neighbors currently enjoy open access to the vacant property. Understanding that public access has been a valued community benefit, EWEB is evaluating options for maintaining areas of open space at the project site. We intend to work together with neighbors and other stakeholders to re-landscape portions of the site for public use while ensuring responsible use of public funds.

For any property retained by EWEB and not used for storage facilities, site neighbors and other residents will be invited to participate in decisions that involve:

  • Landscape design such as earth, rock, water, and vegetation features
  • Public amenities (outside the fenced tanks) such as interpretive displays, walking paths

Opportunities to be involved and share feedback will be advertised on this website and other channels.

Related materials and information

Other water storage improvement projects