Water Wisdoms | October 2021 Newsletter
Harvest on MWMC Biocycle Farm Underway
Over the past several months, the MWMC team and our contractors have been hard at work on the Biocycle Farm, harvesting approximately 24,000 poplar trees. These poplars grow rapidly by consuming nutrients in biosolids and recycled water, byproducts of the wastewater treatment process. The trees were grown for about 12 years and are now being logged for use as building materials, woodchips, paper products, and more.
Additionally, poplar slash from the harvest was recently used to produce biochar, a carbon rich soil amendment created by burning organic material with little oxygen present. Biochar offers many environmental benefits, as it helps soil retain nutrients and water, increases plant growth, provides a great habitat for microorganisms, and sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Click here or the above linked video for a behind-the-scenes look at what producing biochar on our Biocycle Farm looked like.

Special thanks to Wilson Biochar Associates, Northwest Youth Corps, and Long Tom Watershed Council for their partnership on our biochar demonstration project. Biochar yields from the demonstration will be applied in pilot projects and assessed for their potential benefits. Potential pilot projects include use as a stormwater filtration medium, soil amendment for poplar trees, urban street tree plantings, and drought-resilient turf for parks, and natural area restoration. Another benefit of the project was our partnership agreement with the Northwest Youth Corps to train youth and young adult crews about biochar and the field management of biochar production.

The MWMC is committed to protecting our community's health and the environment. Our efforts on the Biocycle Farm are an important piece of our sustainability strategies to protect the Willamette River. To learn more about our Poplar Harvest and other sustainability efforts, click here.
Did You Know?
As mentioned in the article above, another application for Biocycle Farm poplar is building materials. Our poplar has been successfully tested to produce architectural ceiling grilles and plywood veneer. For our poplar harvest this year, the MWMC has been working with local milling company Urban Lumber to produce dimensional and live-edge boards for local building uses. To learn more about innovative uses of poplar and the benefits of this sustainable resource for our community, click here.
MWMC Wastewater Treatment Plant Receives Regional Award
We're excited to share that the MWMC's wastewater treatment plant was recently awarded the George W. Burke, Jr. Facility Safety Award by the Pacific Northwest Clean Water Association (PNCWA). The award was presented to City of Eugene Wastewater Division Director Dave Breitenstein and Wastewater Operator Scott Martin during the PNCWA annual conference last month.

This award recognizes a municipal or industrial wastewater facility for excellence in its active and effective safety program and safety record. The MWMC is committed to the safety of our staff, contractors, and the public and works hard to ensure our facilities are well maintained and safe for all. We were honored to be recognized for that effort!
National Drug Take Back Day
Saturday, October 23 is the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's next National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is a great opportunity to clean out your medicine cabinets and properly dispose of unwanted or expired medications. Doing so prevents these drugs from ending up in the wrong hands, and also helps to keep our waterways clean and free of dangerous substances. For a list of locations where prescriptions can be dropped off on October 23, click here.

Additionally, community kiosk drop-off sites at local pharmacies allow community members to dispose of prescription drugs year-round. You can also pick up a postage paid, pre-addressed envelope from select locations if preferred. To find a convenient drop-off site or envelope pick-up site near you, click here.
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