An EWEB-supported program provides firewood for people affected by the 2020 Holiday Farm Fire. The McKenzie Firewood program was developed by Pure Water Partners (PWP) in 2021.Find Out More
At EWEB, we do what we can to help others in need. That’s been the reality for several of our electric and water crews over the past few weeks as we’ve responded to mutual aid requests for storm response and drinking water restoration, locally, and out of state.Find Out More
EWEB has 800 miles of transmission and distribution lines transporting your drinking water underground throughout the city. It eventually comes out of your tap as delicious thirst-quenching water. But what goes into maintaining all those pipes? And what happens when one gets a leak? We went to find out.Find Out More
Energy Efficiency tips to help you reduce your energy usage for National Cut your Energy Costs DayFind Out More
In response to a call for aid this week, EWEB’s water division jumped into action to assist the town of Mapleton after a leak in their water system left about 260 homes without running water.Find Out More
At Alton Baker Park this week, Eugene 4J elementary students bid farewell to baby salmon they’d raised from eggs in their classrooms this fall. The activity was part of the Salmon Education Program funded by EWEB grants.Find Out More
On a chilly November day, third graders from Adams Elementary School in Eugene learned about the lifecycle of native salmon on a field trip to Lake Creek near Triangle Lake. The field trips take place all month as part of a program funded by EWEB grants. EWEB dedicates a portion of customer rates to inspiring kids to explore the wonders of science and learn about watershed health, water quality, and emergency preparedness.Find Out More
EWEB works with watershed researchers, forest management agencies and local non-profits to identify threats to our water supply and public health, prioritize watershed restoration activities and help with long-term community recovery.Find Out More
EWEB’s Source Water Champions work year-round to protect our drinking water. They take water quality samples throughout the watershed, help our neighbors be better stewards, and coordinate multi-agency teams for restoration work and hazard mitigation.Find Out More
Local middle school students from around the area learned about the entire life cycle of salmon along the McKenzie River at Salmon Watch 2022, which was held at the EWEB spawning channel. The field trip took place during peak salmon spawning season, when fish that are at least two feet long are reaching the end of their journey from the ocean to their natal streams.Find Out More
Laura Farthing has been working for EWEB for the past 14 years. She’s the lead engineer on EWEB’s water storage construction project near E. 40th and Patterson St.Find Out More
EWEB held a grand opening event for our Emergency Water Station near the Sheldon Fire Station on Saturday, September 10. The site would supply drinking water for the neighborhood in the event of a catastrophic earthquake or other disaster that cut off water to customers.Find Out More
This very pure form of coal called anthracite coal is actually used as part of the water filtration process.Find Out More
We are working to ensure our systems are ready to perform through extreme heat. Check out tips and resources to help you stay safe and comfortable while conserving energy.Find Out More
EWEB's new map displays water quality sampling results and can advise McKenzie River recreationalists where to avoid areas with toxic algaeFind Out More
October 13, 2022
EWEB conducted a multi-agency spill drill on the Willamette River this week. The practice session was to help refresh and hone skills that will be essential to respond to an actual disaster involving an oil spill in the Willamette.
Emergency responders gathered at Whitely Landing in North Eugene on a sunny morning.
“Alright, hey, my name’s David Donahue. I’m an Environmental Specialist with EWEB. I think I know most of you but some new faces which is awesome to see. We actually have a great day. Hopefully, no smoke. But it should be good time to be out on the water.” Donahue spoke to the group before the exercise got underway.
The practice scenario for the drill was that used oil had spilled into the Willamette upstream of the Whitely Landing from the I-105 bridge.
“Oil spills on fast-moving rivers or water is really a complex thing to try to stop and to clean up,” said Karl Morgenstern, EWEB’s water restoration program manager.
Morgenstern launched the spill drill program around 2003 and has participated in annual spill drills ever since. He says the team uses ropes, pullies, and containment booms to direct the oil to an area where it can be collected. Then a skimmer is used to remove as much oil as possible.
“It’s a complicated response. We do this once a year and even then, you’re kind of relearning what you did last year,” said Morgenstern. “And the hope is that if there’s a spill in the year in between our drills that when we come together, we’re so much better and know what we’re doing together.”
The organizations that participated form a coalition called the McKenzie Watershed Emergency Response System. The group includes EWEB, the Army Corps of Engineers, Eugene Springfield Fire and EMS, Lane County Sheriff, McKenzie Fire & Rescue, and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, among others.
Nancy Toth with EWEB’s Source Water Protection said it’s really important to be able to respond if hazardous material get into the river.
“Particularly if it’s above our drinking water intake,” Toth said. “So, we do this so we wouldn’t have to shut down our drinking water intake potentially if there was a spill. But we certainly have the capability to do that if needed.”
The drill took place downstream of EWEB’s intake on the McKenzie River. There are downstream communities that rely on the Willamette River as a drinking water source, including Corvallis, Sherwood, and Wilsonville EWEB is also planning to build a second water treatment plant on the Willamette River so that we’re not dependent on a single source of drinking water for our 200,000 customers.
Multiple agencies working together on disaster response can make a big difference in a real-time situation. Morgenstern said this type of multi-agency oil spill drill is unique in Oregon.
“This just doesn’t happen to be honest.” Morgenstern said.
After the spill drill was over, EWEB's David Donahue said he thought it was a big success.
"We enjoyed a strong sense of teamwork and support throughout the exercise. We were also fortunate to have favorable weather, low river flows and good site access," said Donahue. "Although I’m hopeful we never have to face a major spill in a local waterway, I’m also grateful we have opportunities such as these to build relationships with other stakeholders, develop skills and test equipment in the field."