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College Hill Water Storage Site Will be Closed for July 4 Holiday, Fireworks Banned

June 27, 2022

EWEB will continue the annual closure of our College Hill Reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday and prohibit fireworks on the property grounds. 

For the past several years, we have restricted access to the reservoir surface around the Fourth of July to ensure people do not set off fireworks which can damage the roof and potentially impact drinking water quality. 


Last year, the City of Eugene passed an ordinance banning the use of fireworks in a segment of south Eugene due to the area's drought conditions and the potential for wildfires. The city ordinance bans fireworks in areas south of 18th Avenue or east of Agate Street, which includes College Hill, through 2022. 


The fireworks prohibition includes the entire College Hill water storage site, including the blacktop surface of the old, decommissioned reservoir to the north of the College Hill structure. However, only the surface of the south water tank will be closed over the holiday—EWEB will lock the gates to the surface Thursday, June 30. The gates will re-open Tuesday, July 5.  


We invite the public to enjoy the ungated public space respectfully. 

“I think many people don’t realize what it takes to ensure clean, safe drinking water is always available, especially as critical infrastructure ages and new challenges arise,” said EWEB’s Chief Operations Officer Karen Kelley. “It's vital that we protect and maintain water infrastructure which is why contemporary standards prevent public access to critical drinking water facilities.


The 15 million-gallon (MG) College Hill reservoir is part of our base-level water storage system and is critical to ensuring drinking water to all of Eugene.


A volunteer neighborhood reservoir watch has been in place for years to help reduce risks to water quality, and EWEB has invested close to $1 million over the past decade on temporary fixes to the 80-year-old facility. Despite improvements, the structure is still susceptible to contamination. Citing contamination concerns, the Oregon Health Authority is requiring EWEB to rehabilitate or decommission College Hill by the end of 2023.


To continue providing safe, reliable drinking water, we are planning to drain the aging reservoir in 2023, pending completion of replacement water storage at another property in south Eugene. Eventually, EWEB plans to demolish the College Hill reservoir and replace it with a new tank built to modern seismic standards. 


We are committed to retaining the property at College Hill and re-landscaping areas not needed for water storage for continued public use. We plan to invite community input on landscape design options to create an inviting space that fits the neighborhood, as well as to appropriately honor College Hill's history and role in our community.  

Learn more about water storage improvement projects.