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Drinking Water Week 2024

May 06, 2024 Adam Spencer, Communications Team

Welcome to Drinking Water Week 2024! This week, we celebrate the value of clean, safe water, the importance of water infrastructure, and the critical role of water professionals.

Here at EWEB, we take great pride in delivering you some of the best drinking water in the nation. It is our mission to guarantee the people of Eugene will have clean and delicious water for generations to come.

Clean drinking water is a human right. For far too many people in the world, their right to clean drinking water is unfulfilled. As we celebrate Drinking Water Week, we’d like to reflect and make sure we don’t take it for granted. We honor the citizens of Eugene who created EWEB in response to a water crisis by fulfilling our duties every day. 

Our promise to provide your drinking water relies upon a Source to Tap approach.

Our work includes protecting the McKenzie River – the source of drinking water for nearly 200,000 people. We partner with landowners throughout the McKenzie Valley to restore riparian forests to shade and filter water and we’re rebuilding floodplains to contain contaminants entering the waterways through landslides and erosion.

At the Hayden Bridge Drinking Water Treatment Facility, our team works around the clock to filter and purify your drinking water. Every day, they remind themselves to treat every single drop of water as if it is going into a baby’s formula or served to a patient in a hospital. With their culture of compassion and dedication, state of the art science, and craftsmanship forged by years of experience, EWEB water operators refine the McKenzie’s water into the life-sustaining product that our customers love.

EWEB tests water as it leaves Hayden Bridge – as well as samples from throughout our distribution system. The team at the Water Quality Lab assures our compliance with all state and federal regulations, regularly maintaining our status as a “top performer” with the Oregon Health Authority. 

Finally, to get to your tap, our distribution teams manage 800 miles of pipe, pumps, and reservoirs to keep the water flowing. From below Santa Clara to the top of the south hills, EWEB is investing more than $200 million in major water infrastructure projects over the next 10 years with the goal of ensuring reliable water service even during a major natural disaster. 

Please join us in commemorating the Safe Drinking Water Act's 50th anniversary and honoring the dedicated water professionals who ensure your tap water is safe and healthy every day.

From operators and engineers to environmentalists and scientists, we recognize the tireless efforts of our water heroes who safeguard public health and deliver reliable water service 24/7/365 – and forever.

Source

Susan at the Finn Rock Reach

“With impacts from wildfire and other land management activities upstream, there’s high potential for a lot of sediment and contaminants to get transported to the McKenzie River,” says EWEB Water Resources Supervisor Susan Fricke. “But by widening the floodplain, flood events can be slowed down and sediment and contaminants dropped out in the restoration areas.”

David coordinates the spill drill

"I’m passionate about monitoring and protecting the health of the McKenzie Watershed so that generations to come can enjoy the excellent water quality of the McKenzie River for both drinking water and recreation," says Environmental Specialist David Donahue, who coordinates the annual Spill Drill with agency partners to contain hazardous materials spills in the river. "Working with our many partners and collaborating with community members to protect this wonderful resource is the icing on the cake."

Treatment

Tim monitors reservoir system

"The details change daily, but ultimately the end game is always providing quality water to our customers," says Hayden Bridge Drinking Water Treatment Plant Operator Timothy Sanders.

Jared takes a water sample

"My favorite part of the job is knowing I am part of a team that provides such a valuable resource to so many people," says Hayden Bridge Drinking Water Treatment Plant Operator Lead Jared Giacomelli "I’m proud of my work to safeguard the community.  As a father of triplets who needed formula as babies it is very near to my heart how important every drop of water can be to those most vulnerable."

Water Quality Testing

Michelle tests water quality samples

"My favorite part of the job is knowing that I am involved in keeping our drinking water safe for the community. To know that I am a part of and contributing to something so much bigger than myself is a humbling feeling," says Laboratory Technician Michelle Bauer. "I also really enjoy the lab environment and how the technology and the regulations are ever-evolving. There is always something new to learn!"

Distribution

Rick manages pumps at College Hill Reservoir

"Our reservoir system is elevated and it serves a lot of people. They can’t see it, so it’s hard for them to know what happens. My job is to make sure that when they turn on their tap they have safe and clean water.

I take care of water reservoirs, pump stations, and security. My main goal is to do my maintenance and clean up, I make it look better than when I arrived. Water is clean – our facilities should be clean as well.

As an on-call operator – I’m one of the few people who monitors the system 24/7. If there are any alarms or a pump goes out, I make sure to get it fixed working with the security team or electricians. I also monitor the chlorine levels and water quality of the reservoirs. We know that our reservoirs are at certain levels and know how to adjust them to bring back balance when needed. 

I have pride in my work as I’m one of a handful of  people on-call at all times to provide the people of Eugene with safe drinking water, and I’m willing to work after hours and do whatever it takes to make sure they have safe water."

Pump and Reservoir Technician Richard Mullins