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New tanks come online as EWEB modernizes water system

April 07, 2024 Jen Connors, EWEB Communications

EWEB water operations staff turns the valve to put new water tanks into service

EWEB marked a major milestone recently by completing the construction of new drinking water storage tanks and pipelines that are built to withstand a major earthquake and will help supply drinking water to all of Eugene.

The project includes two 7.5-million-gallon concrete water storage tanks near East 40th and Patterson Street and more than 2,500 feet of new 36-inch pipeline connecting the tanks to the water system near Hilyard Street and Dillard Road. Last month, EWEB completed the final crucial steps to bring the new water storage tanks and pipelines online.

The tanks and pipelines serve everyone in Eugene, from the South Hills to downtown to Bethel to Ferry Street Bridge.

“Since this project began, our north star has been to complete the work as quickly and safely as possible. Despite many challenges, EWEB was able to keep the project largely on schedule, meeting our commitment to neighbors and our community,” said Laura Farthing, EWEB Senior Engineer and Project Manager. “We want to acknowledge and appreciate nearby residents who have endured two years of noise and dust and other impacts to their lives so that everyone in Eugene can have a more resilient drinking water system.”

With tank construction complete, EWEB can move on to the next phases of work. The area around the tanks is being backfilled so that only about 12-15 feet of concrete remains visible. The tanks will then be fenced and screened with vegetation. EWEB will also restore parts of the 11-acre property to enhance native flora, including an Oak Woodland which is considered a “Strategy Habitat” under Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Oregon Conservation Strategy.

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.

New water storage tanks are constructed out of reinforced, prestressed concrete and are wrapped with high-strength steel wire, The tanks 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’s Water System Master Plan aims to replace all of Eugene’s base-level water reservoirs with new, seismically resilient storage tanks. In late spring 2024, EWEB will begin dismantling the leaky and antiquated College Hill Reservoir and replacing it with new, modern drinking water storage tanks identical to those just completed near East 40th Ave.

Pipeline work will continue through the summer of 2024 on Hilyard Street from around Tugman Park to East 33rd Avenue. Local residents and businesses will have access during construction, but travelers should expect traffic delays and detours, including sidewalk and bike lane closures on the stretch of Hilyard between Dillard Road and East 33rd Avenue.

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Water Reliablity Projects
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We're making investments to prepare, replace and maintain our community's water system.

Electric reliability projects
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EWEB's 10-year Capital Improvement Plan for major infrastructure investments to rehabilitate, replace, and install new infrastructure will ensure we meet the current and future needs of our community, while maintaining reliable service. 

Budget and Rate Information
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After five years of stable prices, EWEB will likely need rate increases in 2022 to support utility operations and continued investments. However maintaining affordability will always be an important principle.