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EWEB bids a fond farewell to College Hill Reservoir and prepares for modern drinking water storage tanks

June 03, 2024 Jen Connors, EWEB Communications

Couple dancing with revelers in the background at Farewell College Hill event

Several hundred Eugene residents came together on May 30 for a Farewell Celebration at EWEB’s College Hill Reservoir before demolition and construction to build modern drinking water storage tanks begins later this year. The event featured a band and food trucks, and attendees wrote messages of thanks in chalk on top of the reservoir to honor the site’s significance to the community. 

College Hill Reservoir was fully drained at the beginning of 2024 after EWEB finished constructing new drinking water storage tanks near East 40th Ave. and Patterson St. The 84-year-old structure which serves all Eugene homes and businesses, and provides emergency water for critical community needs, including fire suppression, has reached the end of its useful life and fails to meet current seismic standards.

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. Upgraded EWEB infrastructure is designed to withstand major earthquakes such as the one scientists predict will originate from the Cascadia Subduction Zone at any time in the coming decades.

The new water tanks planned for College Hill will be identical to those built near East 40th Ave. The tanks are constructed out of reinforced, prestressed concrete and wrapped with high-strength steel wire. They are designed to flex without breaking during a seismic event and the piping is constructed out of welded steel, which is one of the most seismically robust materials available and can have a lifespan of over 100 years. 

EWEB estimates that access to the College Hill Reservoir site will remain open mid-summer. Prior to demolition, the entire site will be fenced and remain off limits to the public until the project is completed, which is anticipated to be in 2027.

In addition to storing and protecting drinking water, the College Hill Reservoir has also served as a cherished open space for the community. After construction, the top of the new tanks will not be accessible to the public. However, other spaces on the large site will be. EWEB will ask the public for preferences on-site landscaping and amenities after demolition and construction is underway. In the meantime, the public can submit comments online at eweb.org/collegehill.

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Access to clean water is vital to our community. That is why we work hard to deliver water that meets or exceeds all state and federal health standards.

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We are working with community partners to develop an emergency water supply program that includes several permanent distribution sites located throughout the community using groundwater wells, as well as mobile water trailers. 

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