Water Quality: Drinking Water Protection

SUB currently has two different sources of drinking water supply and is working to develop a third source. Approximately 90% of Springfield’s drinking water comes from wells that tap the aquifer, a vast underground layer of water-bearing sands and gravel beneath our community. Ten percent of our water comes from the Mid Fork Willamette River and is processed through Slow Sand Filtration Plant. The third source will be the McKenzie River. As our community grows, we are expanding production from the wells and the Slow Sand Filtration Plant. As those sources reach their capacity, we are planning the treatment processes needed to tap our water rights from the McKenzie River.

Wellhead Protection
SUB has a wellhead protection program to help safeguard the quality of Springfield's aquifer, the layer of water-bearing gravel that provides Springfield with most of its drinking water. Working with consultants, customers, and government agencies, SUB is mapping the location and flow of groundwater. Above ground, SUB is identifying where chemicals are being used and whether they pose a threat to the groundwater. Monitoring, testing, and public education are all part of SUB's wellhead protection program.

Surface Water Protection
SUB’s surface water protection program extends from our Mid Fork Willamette River intake in Springfield to the crest of the Cascades at Waldo Lake and includes the entire watershed above Springfield. SUB works closely with the emergency response agencies and the Haz Mat Response team to monitor spills and clean-ups that could affect the river and impact our water quality. We also work with the up-river communities of Lowell, Westfir and Oakridge; with several private timber companies, including Willamette National Forest, BLM, and the Corps of Engineers; and with other community volunteers on the Mid Fork Willamette Watershed Council to maintain water quality in the river and to provide public education in the watershed.

SUB is also involved with the McKenzie Watershed Council and the Eugene Water and Electric Board in water quality protection in the McKenzie. Several of SUB’s wellfields are next to the river and this is the location of one of our future surface water sources. SUB is evaluating the treatment process needed for using the McKenzie River as a source. SUB works with the McKenzie Watershed Council on water quality monitoring projects, school education programs, and public education on a watershed wide basis to preserve the future of our water supply.


For more information about SUB’s Drinking Water Protection Plan, Contact David Embleton, SUB’s Water Quality Manager at 541-744-3730, or Amy Chinitz, Drinking Water Protection Coordinator at 541-744-3745.

If you would like additional information on source water protection in Lane County, visit the TapSource website.

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