Water Wisdoms | September 2022 Newsletter
Sustainability in Action: MWMC Applies Biosolids to Poplar Trees & Local Fields
At the MWMC, we strive to provide high-quality wastewater services and protect water quality as sustainably as possible. Resource recovery is an important part of achieving that goal, as it allows us to reuse byproducts of the wastewater treatment process in ways that benefit both the environment and our community.

One example of this is the use of biosolids as nutrient-rich fertilizer. Every day, solid waste enters our wastewater treatment plant and is separated from the water. After about a month of treatment in huge anaerobic digesters at the plant, it’s pumped to our Biosolids Management Facility for even further treatment over several years. Once ready, the biosolids are dewatered, dried, and applied as fertilizer and soil amendment to poplar trees on our Biocycle Farm, as well as to area ryegrass fields.

To date, 2,506 dry tons of biosolids have been applied on 521 acres this summer. Our staff at the Biosolids Management Facility and the Biocycle Farm work hard to complete this work, in partnership with local grass seed farmers.

The poplar trees grown on our Biocycle Farm grow rapidly, in part because of the nutrients they consume from biosolids. This allows for growth periods of just 10-12 years. Last year, one unit on our Biocycle Farm was harvested and milled, and poplar boards from that harvest are now available for purchase at BRING Recycling. This partnership brings sustainability full circle, from waste to a wood product in the hands of local woodworkers!

To learn more about the Biosolids Management Facility and the important role it plays in processing wastewater and effectively managing our natural resources, as well as the Biocycle Farm, click here.
Can the Grease to Save Your Drain This Fall
Autumn is almost upon us! 🍁🍂 As the temperatures begin to drop, you may look forward to cooking some comfort foods like soups, stews, and casseroles. Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) are likely to come with these delicious fall foods, and if not disposed of properly, can lead to costly clogs and plumbing problems.

This season, remember to dispose of FOG in the trash rather than pouring it down the drain. Simply scrape the FOG from your pot or pan into a metal can, let it harden on the counter or in the freezer, and then toss the can in the trash. Then, use a paper towel to wipe remaining fats, oils, and grease before rinsing the pot or pan in the sink. By following these simple steps, you’ll be preventing a potentially expensive plumbing bill and helping to protect the public wastewater pipes and pumps we all share as a community!

For more pollution prevention tips related to FOG disposal and a variety of other topics, click here.
In the Community: MWMC Summer Events Recap
As we head into fall, we’re reflecting on the full summer we had here at the MWMC! We had the chance to participate in several events and programs this past summer, which allowed us to meet many amazing water-loving community members. Our team extends our gratitude to all who have participated in tours of our treatment plant, engaged with us at a sponsored event, or even just dropped us a nice comment on social media the past few months. We love interacting with the Eugene-Springfield community on all things clean water, sustainability, and pollution prevention!

Here are just a few of the fun activities we enjoyed from June – August….
Springfield H2Oh! Exhibit at the Springfield History Museum 

The MWMC partnered with the City of Springfield and Springfield History Museum this summer to open a new exhibit on all things water – Springfield H2Oh! The exhibit provides a chance to explore Springfield’s water systems, including connection to our regional wastewater treatment plant where water from throughout all of Springfield and Eugene is cleaned and then returned to the Willamette River. The exhibit remains open through the end of the year, so there’s still time to check it out!  
The Springfield Public Library Summer Reading Program – Kids’ Intro to Wastewater

Back in July, our team had opportunity to participate in the Springfield Public Library’s Summer Reading Program. Staff read a water story to kiddos, introduced them to the wastewater treatment process, and led some fun water-themed activities. 
Community Tour of the Wastewater Treatment Plant – Willamette River Festival 

As a presenting partner of the Willamette Riverkeeper’s Willamette River Festival held in July, the MWMC offered a free community tour of our Wastewater Treatment Plant. This tour was offered as an activity of the weeklong festival, providing community members a chance to take a behind-the-scenes look at how we clean water for the Eugene-Springfield area. We always enjoy showing off the important work our team does 24/7/365, and thanks to the community members who joined us for the tour!
Summer Event Sponsorships 

It was an exciting summer of events in the Eugene-Springfield area, and we were proud to sponsor quite a few offerings. These included the Springfield Utility Board’s Light of Liberty Celebration, Lane County Fair, Willamette Riverkeeper’s Willamette River Festival, and the McKenzie River Trust’s monthly Living River Exploration Days at Green Island.  
We’ve got even more fun in store this fall, so be sure to stay connected with us on social media and check mwmcpartners.com/community-education for future offerings.  
Did You Know?
We enjoy very clean water in the Eugene-Springfield area today. When we flush our toilets or wash the dishes, we can have confidence that water will be thoroughly and effectively cleaned (by us!) prior to being returned to the Willamette River. But did you know that this wasn’t always the case?  

The Clean Water Act of 1972 was an absolute game changer for the future of water quality. That piece of legislation, which established a nationwide water quality permit program, is in large part what prompted the creation of the MWMC in 1977 and the construction of a regional wastewater treatment plant, which came fully online in 1984. 

Next month will bring the 50th anniversary for the Clean Water Act. In celebration, we’ll be sharing more information over the coming weeks on the past, present, and future of clean water nationally and right here in our community. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for fun, interactive Clean Water Act content! 
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