Eugene's Watershed - Returning Clean Water to the River
Located in the Upper Willamette Drainage Basin, the City of Eugene is responsible for ensuring clean water returns to the Willamette River. For about six miles, the WIllamette River flows through the city and receives runoff directly from stormwater outfall pipes and north Eugene creeks, as well as treated water from the regional wastewater treatment facility. Just north of the city, the McKenzie River, including some runoff from north Eugene, flows into the Willamette River. Even further north near Monroe, the Lower Long Tom River, including runoff from Eugene's Amazon Creek system, enters the Willamette River.
The Oregon Department of Quality (DEQ) listed the Willamette River as impaired due to elevated water temperatures, elevated levels of mercury concentration in fish, and elevated bacteria. This is bad news for aquatic organisms that depend on healthy streams, as well as downstream drinking water users and people who enjoy fishing and recreating in the Willamette River watershed. Other local water bodies, including Amazon Creek, Amazon Diversion Channel, and Fern Ridge Reservoir, are also impaired due to elevated bacteria levels, low dissolved oxygen levels and elevated turbidity.
When water quality standards are not met, the federal Clean Water Act requires that a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) be established. A TMDL serves as a restoration plan for waterways that have been impaired by pollution and habitat degradation. The City of Eugene’s TMDL Implementation Plan identifies actions the City is taking to restore and protect water quality in local waterways and the Willamette River.
Action items include:
- Implement the City’s NPDES MS4 Stormwater Management Plan to reduce stormwater pollution. This includes a broad set of city-wide best management practices including street sweeping, system cleaning, preventing spills from getting into the system, preventing erosion from construction sites, constructing green infrastructure stormwater facilities like rain gardens and swales, and waterway inspections, maintenance, clean up and restoration activities.
- Meet all NPDES WPCF permit requirements for the Metro wastewater treatment facility.
- Tree planting: Plant trees and shrubs extensively along publicly managed waterways and provide opportunities to participate in voluntary tree planting and stream restoration activities
- Protect certain designated waterways from filling/piping and development activities
- Provide information about sources of stormwater pollution affecting our waterways, and actions individuals can take to prevent and reduce these pollutants
- Conduct regular water quality sampling and use the data to inform future program adjustments.
For more information about specific plans to improve water quality and specific details about contaminants found in our waterways, click through the supporting documentation located in the tabs below.
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Documents
|TMDLs Applicable to Eugene's Stormwater Program|
|Water Body||Parameter||Pollutant Load Reduction Target|
|Upper Amazon Creek||Bacteria (E. coli)||84% (annual reduction)|
|A3 Channel||Bacteria (E. coli)||33% (annual reduction)|
|Fern Ridge Reservoir||Bacteria (E. coli)||64% (annual reduction)|
|Turbidity (TSS surrogate)||54.6% (annual reduction)|
|Amazon Diversion Channel||Biological oxygen demand||40% (annual reduction)|
|Volatile suspended solids (TSS surrogate)||40% (annual reduction)|
|Nutrients (total phosphorus surrogate)||40% (annual reduction)|
|Upper Willamette River (main and unreferenced tributaries)||Bacteria (E. coli)||65% (annual reduction)|
|McKenzie River||Bacteria (E. coli)||65% (annual reduction)|