Electric Outage: 1-844-484-2300
Water Emergency: 541-685-7595
EWEB Main: 541-685-7000
Electric mobility seems to be everywhere these days, but does availability equal accessibility? Here at EWEB we’ve determined that the answer is ‘no’ and are working to bridge that gap through EV car shares, community grants and electric bike rebates.Find Out More
In Eugene, we take pride in knowing we have one of the cleanest power portfolios in the nation. Roughly 90% of Eugene's power comes from carbon-free hydroelectric energy. And EWEB has a long history offering robust conversation programs. But we wanted to do more, so we launched Lead Green, a suite of programs for climate innovators looking to support renewable energy and take action on climate change. In the year since Lead Green was launched, we've accomplished a lot we can be proud of.Find Out More
Learn some of the many ways EWEB customers support local schools and help inspire kids to explore the wonders of watershed health and clean energy resources.Find Out More
National Infrastructure Week (May 14-20) may be a politically charged quip on the national stage, but for EWEB, the urgency and importance of infrastructure is no joke.Find Out More
By upgrading substations – key nodes in the electric grid – EWEB is investing today in a resilient electric grid for the future.Find Out More
Millions of dollars of investment have prevented the major harm from the Holiday Farm Fire, EWEB’s annual State of the Watershed Report finds.Find Out More
EWEB employs multiple methods of safeguarding drinking water, from the source to the tap.Find Out More
Old reservoir leaks, threatening water quality, and will fail when a major earthquake strikes.Find Out More
Carbon is everywhere. But do we really understand what it is and what is being referred to when people mention it? We are taking it back to the basics in this article that breaks down carbon and explains what it is at it's most basic element and why we need to pay attention to it.Find Out More
EWEB customers use more than twice as much water in the hot, dry summer months, compared to the cold, rainy winter months. The higher summer water use can almost assuredly be attributed to customers watering their lawns and gardens.Find Out More
The Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) is expanding its capacity to provide water to customers in case of an emergency.Find Out More
EWEB is already in compliance with a new proposed federal rule that would require municipalities to test for PFAs, or forever chemicals, in drinking water. The good news for EWEB customers is that in over ten years of testing we have not found PFAs in our water.Find Out More
Greenpower Grants, a program funded by voluntary Greenpower customer subscriptions is currently accepting applications. The grant will fund a high-impact project that increase the use of renewable energy sources, the adoption of emerging technologies, clean energy education and reduce or offset our community's carbon footprint.Find Out More
Eugene is one of the largest cities on the west coast with only a single source of drinking water, the McKenzie River. And though the McKenzie is a pure, reliable water source, EWEB will secure a second source ensure resiliency in the future, planning to build a water treatment plant on the Willamette River, upstream of Eugene and Springfield.Find Out More
With cold and icy weather forecasted for the next several days, we want to share some tips on how to heat your home while still conserving energy. We also have tips on how to stay warm if there is a power outage at your home.Find Out More
January 12, 2023 • Rachael McDonald, EWEB Communications
EWEB has 800 miles of transmission and distribution lines transporting your drinking water underground throughout the city. It eventually comes out of your tap as delicious thirst-quenching water. But what goes into maintaining all those pipes? And what happens when one gets a leak?
We went to find out.
On a recent December morning, EWEB water utility lead Ryan Kelly was out in the cold with his crew who’d just finished patching a water pipe on West 28th Avenue. He said this is an example of a routine main break, which can be caused by corrosion, construction, or extreme weather conditions that can cause the ground to shift.
Aging water infrastructure is a nationwide problem. “The infrastructure is old and there are a lot of miles of pipe in Eugene,” said Kelly.
His four-person crew repaired this break in a few hours, with no affect to customers.
“Very seldom do we have to impact the customer,” said Kelly. “There’s those occasions, but usually we can fix it (with the pipe still) under pressure.”
Kelly said he got the call at around 7 a.m. First the troubleshooter comes out to identify where the leak is coming from.
“Sometimes it’s real obvious,” Kelly said. “Sometimes they have to do quite a bit of work to hunt that down. A lot of times it’s just bubbling up through the ground.”
Once the leak is identified, the crews get to work, often cutting into pavement and digging to get to the pipe and make the repairs.
Jeremiah Hunt is EWEB’s Water Construction and Distribution supervisor. He said maintaining positive pressure in the system prevents anything from getting into the pipes which could affect water quality and be a reason to shut off service. Hunt said that is something they work hard to avoid.
“They probably only saw our presence,” said Hunt. “There was no outage that affected customers. They probably said, ‘Oh, there’s a lot of EWEB trucks in the neighborhood. Oh look, the EWEB trucks are gone.” Sometimes we have to notify for an emergency main brake and there are impacts to customers. But we try to minimize that.”
Hunt said the primary focus is public health and safety.
“We’re responsible for the drinking water of our community,” Hunt said. “My team’s responsible for the repairs and the maintenance in the field. So, whenever we do repairs, we’re always thinking public health. We disinfect all of our parts. If we’re cutting into the system, every piece of pipe, every fitting, everything has been disinfected.”
In 2022, there were 80 water main breaks in EWEB’s territory. That’s down from 96 in 2021, Hunt said. The other focus for his department is maintaining EWEB’s aging water infrastructure.
“We have an older system. That’s a fact,” Hunt said. “We do main replacements every year. We’re constantly trying to replace water mains. We do them in-house and we contract out.” Last year, EWEB spent nearly $7 million on main replacement work.
Hunt said there’s a running list of projects. And when crews see a main that needs replacement, they add that to the list. He’s proud of his crew for their dedication.
“There are people out there making sure that water reaches the faucet. That’s some of the work that my guys do,” Hunt said. “And I want to say that I know that they take pride in the work, and they do very good work. So, I want to say kudos to them and all the work that they do in all types of weather, in all types of environments, in all types of muddy holes they get the job done.”
EWEB’s Operations and Maintenance budget for its water division is about $750,000 this year. That includes the cost of labor, materials and the concrete and asphalt to repair street surfaces after a break. EWEB customers support the upkeep of the water infrastructure when they pay their bills each month.
Chances are, if you see a few EWEB trucks in your neighborhood, they’re making sure you can turn on the tap and get clean, safe, tasty water to drink, cook, bathe, and clean every day.
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Mailing Address: 4200 Roosevelt Blvd., Eugene, OR 97402
Toll free: 800-841-5871
Customer service phone hours: 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Friday