Water Wisdoms | February 2021 Newsletter
Engineers Week 2021
Engineers Week is coming up later this month (February 21-27), and to celebrate, we're spotlighting MWMC Executive Officer and Professional Engineer Matt Stouder with some Q&A on his engineering career.

What got you interested in engineering? 
I have always had an interest in the outdoors and the environment. I really enjoyed science in school, particularly biology, and thought about majoring in Environmental Science in college. When I went to a college career day in high school, I decided to sit in on a talk about Environmental Engineering, which seemed to be about many of the aspects I was interested in: science, biology, cleaning up the environment and keeping it safe. After the talk, it solidified my choice to become an Environmental Engineer.

What experiences in your engineering career were most impactful in getting you to where you are now?
I was fortunate to have a couple of very good mentors along my journey to where I’m currently at. Not only did they take me under their wing and provide me with guidance, but they challenged me to think outside of the box with respect to problem solving. I would also say that getting my Master’s degree at Oregon State University was very impactful; it afforded me the opportunity to see real world examples of environmental engineering at work, and helped prepare me for my current role with the MWMC.

What’s your favorite thing about your role? 
This is a hard one because I have several favorite things about my job. I love the people that I get to work with everyday, and I am thankful that my job makes a meaningful difference in the lives of everyone living in the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan region. It’s very important to me that my role plays a part in protecting the health and vitality of our local environment, particularly with respect to the Willamette and McKenzie rivers. I also enjoy that I am able to work across the communities of both Eugene and Springfield, as well as Lane County.

What advice would you give an engineering student or young person thinking about getting into engineering?
To the engineering student, I would tell them to stay focused on what got them interested in engineering to begin with. The road to becoming a licensed engineer can feel pretty lengthy, but once you’re done, it’s a major accomplishment and it will open up a lot of doors for your career. To the young person thinking about getting into engineering, I would advise them to seek out different engineers in different fields and ask them to have a conversation about engineering. Getting multiple perspectives from folks will help determine if engineering might be right for you.
Water Wisdoms Newsletter Giveaway Contest
Missed out on our social media giveaway last month? No worries, we have another opportunity for you to win an awesome MWMC tumbler, grip jar opener and fats, oils and grease (FOG) disposal kit, this time exclusive to our newsletter subscribers!

To enter the giveaway, simply click the button below and enter your email address by midnight on Friday, February 12. We'll select a winner at random on Tuesday, February 16 and reach out via email. Good luck and thanks again for following along for our monthly updates!
Virtual Clean Water University Underway
Our virtual Clean Water University for the 2020-2021 school year is underway! Every year, we partner with the cities of Springfield and Eugene to provide this program for area fifth-grade classes free of charge. Though we shifted from our in-person field trip at the wastewater treatment plant to a virtual curriculum offering this school year, the overall goal of CWU remains the same: to teach students about the importance of clean water.

Click here to check out our full curriculum for this year, and you may just learn a new fact or two yourself! While you're at it, give our new Microorganisms Video a watch at the link below to hear from Lead Treatment Plant Operator Matt Green on the big impact these small bugs have in the biological treatment of wastewater.
Shared-Use Path Around Wastewater Treatment Plant Repaved
A portion of the Eugene shared-use path around our Wastewater Treatment Plant was recently repaved. The path had been excavated for the construction of a natural gas line, part of our exciting Renewable Natural Gas project currently underway. Connecting to the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System on either side of the Willamette River via the Owosso Bridge, this shared-use path is a great means for both transportation and recreation for runners, walkers and cyclists alike.
Did You Know?
A recent study conducted by the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA) found that the overall cost for local government entities throughout Oregon to manage wipes is $5 million annually. Items like wet wipes, along with diapers, feminine hygiene products, paper towels and other solid materials, can cause blockages in wastewater pipe. These blockages result in expensive repairs for home and business owners, costly damage to pumps and wastewater treatment equipment and overflows of wastewater into homes, businesses and local waterways, or onto streets and park grounds. Help us prevent these costly and dangerous blockages by only flushing the three Ps: pee, poop and (toilet) paper. For more pollution prevention tips, click here.