A: Of the 20 largest cities in the Northwest, Eugene is the only one with a single source of water. If something were to happen that shuts off our McKenzie drinking water supply, our community would have only about two-three days of stored water.
Development of a secondary source of water is critical to improving the reliability of our water system, especially during extreme low-water droughts or following a major catastrophe such as an earthquake, chemical spill or other incident that interrupts our primary McKenzie supply.
Although the intake and treatment plant have not yet been designed, the entire system will be built to modern seismic standards and designed to withstand the impacts of a large earthquake or other natural disaster.
A: EWEB has been studying and planning for a second water source for over a decade. Technical investigations, availability research, and risk and reliability assessments confirm that the Willamette River is the best option to provide Eugene with a second source of drinking water. The Willamette has excellent water quality and adequate supply to provide the amount of water needed to meet demand if something were to happen to the McKenzie. EWEB has established rights from the Oregon Watermaster to draw up to 20 million gallons of water per day from the Willamette. By developing the Willamette Treatment Plant now, EWEB will be able to safeguard these water rights for the people of Eugene for generations to come There are operational benefits and efficiencies as well, as the planned Willamette treatment plant and transmission main can be readily connected to existing infrastructure.
A: Safe drinking water is our top priority. Water quality testing at the Willamette intake site since April 2013 indicates that the water quality at the Willamette River location is similar to samples taken at EWEB's McKenzie River intake.
EWEB water quality specialists will continue to sample the Willamette River and work with local landowners and conservation groups to prioritize conservation work and restoration projects that increase the health of our watersheds. The new Willamette Treatment Plant will use state-of-the-art technology to produce the highest water quality and will meet or exceed all public health standards – so you can rest assured that EWEB will continue providing outstanding water to the people of Eugene.
A: As proposed, the new treatment plant will have robust treatment processes able to treat all anticipated raw water conditions in the Willamette both with respect to water quality and taste/odor to a level higher than the existing Hayden Bridge Treatment Plant drawing from the McKenzie River.
A: No final decisions have been made. However, as proposed the new treatment plant would operate daily to ensure its reliability and operation when needed. This would mean some amount of blending in the system.