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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.
Latest news and updates
Jan. 9, 2024: Happy New Year! With construction of the new East 40th water storage tanks and associated piping completed in early December, our focus is now on commissioning the new tanks, which includes disinfection, leak testing, and then draining and refilling each tank. To ensure the process doesn't create water quality or service impacts across the water system, several EWEB teams are coordinating efforts including engineering, water treatment plant operators, pump and equipment specialists, and construction crews. Many thanks to these folks who worked throughout the holidays to ensure a safe and efficient process.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts commissioning the new tanks is taking longer than expected. EWEB crews and contractors will be onsite for the next several weeks completing the process. We do not expect significant construction noise, truck traffic, or other impacts during this phase of work.
Once commissioning is complete, what's next?
After the tanks are fully online, the next step is backfilling so that only about 12-15 feet of concrete remains visible. The tanks will be fenced and vegetative screening will be installed. We are in the early stages of planning for this next phase of work. Our landscape architect contractor is creating a design that includes diverse native plants and drought-tolerant species. We expect to have a preliminary design ready for public input by early spring.
Help us name the new facility!
A few customers have mentioned that "East 40th" isn't the best way to refer to this project, and we agree! We have received a few suggestions, including:
- Patterson Hill
- Elliot Hill (the name of the plot dating back to the 1950s)
- Kalapuya Hill
Do you have a suggestion? Email us your idea!
Hilyard pipeline work continues
Also in 2024, pipeline work will continue on Hilyard Street from around Tugman Park to East 33rd Avenue. Watch for an update next week on this phase of work.
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.
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.
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.