Clean Water & Wastewater
The City of Springfield is responsible for providing administration services to the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC). To learn more about the MWMC and view their video series, check out their YouTube channel.
The City’s Operations Division maintains the wastewater collection system. To keep our collection system and the regional wastewater treatment facility operating properly, please remember the wastewater system is designed to convey and treat human waste and toilet paper, nothing else.
Wastewater Master Plan Update
The City operates a large and complex wastewater collection system, which includes 250 miles of wastewater pipe varying from 6 to 60 inches in diameter. This system of pipes and pumps moves wastewater from Springfield homes and businesses to the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission‘s (MWMC) regional wastewater treatment plant in North Eugene, where all wastewater from the Eugene-Springfield area is treated before it’s returned to the Willamette River.
The City of Springfield is embarking on a project to update our Wastewater Master Plan. Through this work, the City will identify needed improvements to the local wastewater system, based on current conditions and anticipated growth over the next 20 years.
Springfield’s Wastewater Master Plan was last updated in 2008, and all capital improvements identified in that version of the plan have been constructed, so the plan is being updated again in 2022, in collaboration with contractor Murraysmith Inc.
To learn more about the Wastewater Master Plan Update, visit the project webpage.
Doing our part for PFAS
Across the nation, communities and public entities are struggling with how to best address the issue of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in our environment.
PFAS are manmade compounds that have been used in industry and consumer products worldwide since the 1950s. They may be in nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, stain resistant fabrics and carpets, some cosmetics, some firefighting foams, and products that resist grease, water, and oil.
PFAS are an emerging concern in the world of water quality, which makes them a concern for everyone because we all need clean water to live. PFAS compounds are difficult to break down, so they are often called “forever chemicals.”
Given the widespread use of PFAS in making products used daily, there are background levels from PFAS in Springfield’s wastewater and biosolids. The regional wastewater treatment plant is not an original source of PFAS but is a receiver of these chemicals through water used by manufacturers and consumers. They cannot remove these compounds during the water treatment process.
Experts in water and the environment, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, are still learning about PFAS. For this reason, Springfield’s wastewater staff are tracking national, regional, and local conversations about PFAS and considering the best actions to take for our community.
The best way to eliminate PFAS from water and, in turn, biosolids that are produced by wastewater treatment, is to prevent the chemicals from entering the wastewater stream in the first place. This is achievable through source reduction and elimination.
Springfield and our wastewater partners in Eugene and Lane County are committed to your health, and the health of the land around us. We will continue learning about PFAS and searching for reliable and effective PFAS management for our area. Thanks for your interest and support on this evolving and potentially challenging topic.
Here’s what you can do about PFAS:
- Learn about PFAS. Check out the fact sheet (right) and videos (below).
- Contact us with any wastewater-related questions about PFAS in Springfield. Phone Springfield’s Environmental Services desk at 541.726.3694 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Voice your support for removing PFAS from manufactured goods, whether that’s contacting legislators, talking with friends, or voting with your dollars.
“Six Classes” PFAS videos from the Green Science Policy Institute
Trash It, Don’t Flush It
Oregon Becomes Second State to Require ‘Do Not Flush’ Labeling on Disposable Wipes
On June 8, Gov. Kate Brown signed HB 2344 into law, making Oregon only the second U.S. state to require “Do Not Flush” labeling on disposable wipes. This labeling standard will ensure that product packaging for baby wipes, makeup wipes, cleaning wipes, and other personal care wipes sold in Oregon clearly indicates that such products should not be flushed down toilets.
The MWMC supported HB 2344 by sending a letter of support to Oregon House District 11 Representative Marty Wilde, as well as providing testimony on several occasions.
The flushing of disposable wipes causes clogs in wastewater pipes and pumps, as well as damage to equipment at wastewater treatment plants. To remove these blockages, wastewater operators must use cutting tools and other heavy industrial tools, which increases both labor and equipment costs. Additionally, accumulation of wipes in pipes can lead to backup of wastewater into homes and public spaces, creating a public health hazard and environmental damage.
While “Do Not Flush” labeling will make a positive impact, everyone has a role to play in the pollution prevention effort. Help keep our environment and local waterways healthy by only flushing the three Ps (pee, poop, and toilet paper). To learn more, visit the MWMC’s Pollution Prevention webpage.
Freeze FOG – To Keep Your Wastewater Flowing
What is FOG? It is the presence of fats, oils, and grease (FOG) from food that have built up in wastewater pipes when flushed or rinsed down kitchen drains. Here are examples of each type of FOG:
Fats – Butter, margarine, shortening, peanut butter, meat trimmings, cheese, milk, sour cream, and ice cream.
Oils – Cooking oils and salad dressings.
Grease – Gravy, mayonnaise, fat from meats, lard, sauces, and soups.
When FOG is flushed or rinsed down the sink, it sticks to the insides of wastewater pipes that connect your home or business to the local and regional wastewater system. Built up FOG can clog pipes and cause problems such as costly repair and cleanup at your expense, wastewater backing up into your home or your neighbor’s home, or wastewater overflowing into neighborhood parks, yards, and streets.
How can you help out at home?
- Scrape food scraps into the trash.
- Pour grease into metal cans, let it harden and throw in the trash.
- Stop using your garbage disposal, or try to minimize its use.
- Wipe pots, pans and dishes with a paper towel before washing them.
- Pour grease down the sink or toilet.
- Don’t use cloth towels or rags to scrape oil or grease off plates and utensils because grease will drain to the wastewater pipes when you wash the towels.
- Don’t run water over dishes, pans, fryers or griddles to wash oil and grease down the drain.
Drug Take Back
Have unwanted or expired prescription drugs around the house? Drop them off at a local community kiosk drop-off site. Below are the guidelines for items accepted and not accepted, as well as a list of community kiosk drop-off sites in Springfield. For more details such as operating hours for all of the below locations, and to search for the closest location by zip code, visit medtakebackoregon.org. At this website, community members can also order a postage paid, pre-addressed envelope for mailing in unwanted prescriptions.
ACCEPTED: Medications in any dosage form, except for those identified as Not Accepted, in their original container or sealed bag.
NOT ACCEPTED: Herbal remedies, vitamins, supplements, other personal care products, medical devices, batteries, mercury-containing thermometers, sharps, illicit drugs, pet pesticide products, animal medicines, and biologics.
Community Kiosk Drop-Off Sites:
- Rite Aid, 2130 Marcola Rd.
- CVS Pharmacy, 2750 Gateway St.
- Safeway Pharmacy, 1891 Pioneer Pkwy.
- Sav-On Pharmacy (inside Albertsons), 2000 Marcola Rd. & 5755 Main St.
Medicine Mail-Back Distribution Sites:
- Springfield Public Library, 225 5th St. (mail-in supplies only, not a drop-off site)
Community members can also pick up a postage paid, pre-addressed envelope from the Springfield Public Library, 225 5th St., if preferred, or order free mail-back supplies to be sent directly to them at medtakebackoregon.org.
Why dispose of them through a community kiosk?
- Reduce prescription drug abuse, especially among kids and teens.
- Avoid accidental consumption of drugs by pets and children.
- Keep our waterways clean! Oregon Department of Environmental Quality sampling has found trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in some Oregon streams and rivers, and even groundwater. Do NOT flush unwanted medications down the toilet. This leads to the regional wastewater treatment plant, and eventually, our waterways.
Picasso of the Pipes
Sitting in Springfield City Hall is an art installation that’s been enjoyed by community members for decades. It’s a mosaic of 5,200 items pieced together to create a city seal, and they all came from Springfield’s wastewater system. Artist Russell Ziolkowski created the piece in the early 1970s, using items he found cleaning wastewater pipes as a Springfield Public Works employee. Russell’s artwork received national media attention and has become a beloved piece of Springfield’s history.
Watch the video below to learn more about Russell’s art and his story. Video credit to former KEZI reporter Heather Hintze.