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Second Source Work Underway

January 20, 2017

McKenzie River with rocks and trees

Everyday, Eugene residents turn on their taps to draw clean and delicious drinking water. Water is indispensable at homes, vital to public safety and crucial to our local economy. 

EWEB relies on the beautiful McKenzie River as its sole source of water, and the Hayden Bridge Filtration Plant to deliver safe drinking water nearly 200,000 area residents. But there are just a few days of water available if a natural or human-caused disaster disrupts our supply or filtration plant operations. That is why work is underway to tap into a secondary source of water and build a small, modern filtration plant on the Upper Willamette River.  

Commitment to quality
The new intake site, purchased in 2015, is located below the confluence of the Coast and Middle Forks of the Willamette River. Just upstream, thousands of acres of land are managed for natural habitat and recreation by The Nature Conservancy, Friends of Buford Park and others. Completed and ongoing restoration work has direct benefits to water quality, making great water even better for all that depend on a healthy river.  

The new filtration plant, which will be located west of the intake site, will use modern technology to ensure that drinking water quality is the same, or better, than what is delivered from Hayden Bridge today. EWEB will continue to rely on the McKenzie River as its primary source of drinking water due to the larger plant capacity and available water rights. However, building a second, smaller treatment plant on the Willamette provides for resilient operations should a natural or other disaster strike our community.

Preliminary design work is underway on the filtration plant, and that work will continue through 2018. EWEB plans to begin construction of the new facility in 2019, and have it operational in 2022.

Ensuring an affordable and reliable water supply  

A diverse water supply is the biggest step in improving water system reliability in case of an emergency. Seismic upgrades to critical facilities like reservoirs and pump stations are also planned. EWEB a few years ago created a special reserve fund to help pay for this community investment. Careful financial planning to balance water reliability projects and affordability is a priority so that over time, we are better prepared for the unexpected, and resilient to challenges that come our way.