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No Fireworks at College Hill Water Storage Site

June 28, 2021

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. 


This 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 the remainder of 2021 and 2022. 


The fireworks prohibition includes the entire College Hill water storage site, including the blacktop surface of the old 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 morning, July 1 through Tuesday morning, July 6.  


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


"College Hill reservoir is great for views of the city and friendly gatherings, but its primary function is drinking water storage," said EWEB Water Operations Manager Karen Kelley. "Water infrastructure is something most people rarely think about but protecting our drinking water is something that we all need to work on together. We can't take the safety and reliability of our drinking water for granted."


Approximately 80,000  people in Eugene rely on the 15 million-gallon (MG) College Hill reservoir for their drinking water. 


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.