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EWEB will close College Hill Reservoir site for Fourth of July

June 28, 2023 Aaron Orlowski, EWEB Communications

EWEB will continue the annual closure of its College Hill Reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday.

For the past several years, EWEB has 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.

Setting off fireworks is prohibited across the entire City of Eugene to prevent fires. Fireworks are also prohibited in Lane County open space, parks and recreation areas and in federally or state-managed areas like Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and Oregon State Parks.

At College Hill, only the surface of the south water tank will be closed over the holiday. EWEB will lock the gates to the surface Friday, June 30. The gates will re-open Wednesday, July 5. 

EWEB invites the public to enjoy the ungated public space respectfully. 

“College Hill’s primary function, and EWEB’s top priority, is storing and protecting drinking water,” said EWEB Water Operations Manager Mike Masters. “Closing the College Hill reservoir over the Fourth of July holiday has been an effective way to protect the surface of the tank from further damage and water contamination risks.”

A volunteer neighborhood reservoir watch has been in place for years to help reduce risks to water quality from people using the water storage facility for recreation, 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 and has reached the end of its useful life.

Approximately 80,000 people in Eugene rely on the 15 million-gallon College Hill Reservoir for their drinking water. EWEB will dismantle the leaky and antiquated reservoir and replace it in the coming years with new, modern drinking water storage tanks built to withstand major earthquakes. Construction could begin as early as 2024.