Do you want to buy some treated sewage water next summer?

Do you want to buy some treated sewage water next summer?

EUGENE, Ore. - Do you want to buy some sewage?

Eugene and Springfield have some to spare.

The Willamette River is hotter than the State of Oregon would like it to be for fish health.

That limits how much treated sewage the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission can discharge from Eugene-Springfield into the river, especially during the summer months.

The question looms: What to do with the rest of that treated sewage?

Mark Hamlin with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said the temperature criteria is 64.4 F. Regulators expect people who discharge water into the river to come in above that but hope it’s not so high as to increase the river tempearture.

But Hamlin said the water in the Willamette is too warm. The most recent figures Metro Waste reported in August are well above the 64.4 F target.

Matt Stouder, the general manager for Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission, said the plant already limits how much water it pumps into the river to 25 million to 30 million gallons of treated water during the summer.

During the winter months when the ambient temperature is lower, Metro Waste pumps as much as 200 million gallons into the river each day.

Mark Hamlin with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality says the temperature criteria is 64.4 F. He says they expect people who pump water into the river to above that, but hope it’s not too high. Hamlin says the water in the Willamette is too warm, but no fish have died yet that they are aware of. Hamlin gave me the heat numbers MWMC reported in August, they are well above the 64 criteria.

Metro Waste said the agency pass all federal and state guidelines. The question at hand is how to reduce the temperature of the river for fish health.