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Why are rate increases needed? 

We’re Investing in a Resilient Water Future

Investments in local infrastructure support the health, sustainability, and prosperity of our community. Oak Lodge Water Services (OLWS) is taking steps to update its aging wastewater collections system and wastewater treatment plant to continue to provide you with safe and reliable service today and for years to come. Currently, the OLWS wastewater treatment plant cleans an average of 1.5 billion gallons of wastewater annually to promote our community’s health and wellbeing. Recent evaluations indicate the OLWS wastewater collections system and its wastewater treatment plant require substantial improvements and repairs in the next 5-to-10 years.

New regulations call for substantial improvements

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The graphic illustrates how inflow and infiltration can drive sanitary sewer overflows and degrade the wastewater collections infrastructure.
  • Collections System. Some sites in the collections system have become vulnerable to inflow and infiltration (see graphic). This describes when surface and ground water enter the collections pipeline system, particularly during strong storm events. The additional water causes added pressure on the collections pipeline system, the pumping stations, and the treatment system, occasionally leading to sanitary sewer overflows, for which OLWS can be fined by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
  • Treatment Plant. The existing OLWS wastewater treatment plant cannot reliably meet updated discharge requirements to the Willamette River that have been set by the Department of Environmental Quality, resulting in potential fines and reduced water quality. Construction of a tertiary treatment facility is needed to treat wastewater to a higher degree to meet necessary requirements

Acting now offers resilient, reliable service for decades

Addressing these issues now will allow OLWS to comply with current wastewater regulations, avoid fines, and continue to provide high-quality reliable service to its customers. It will also position OLWS to better handle stronger storm events caused by a shifting climate; meet future, more stringent regulatory requirements; and reduce the risk of future sanitary sewer overflows. The recommended capital improvements total approximately $159.9M, with roughly one-half of the work to be completed within 10 years. OLWS is committed to keeping your rates affordable and providing you with excellent service. OLWS is exploring grant, bond, and systems development charge opportunities to help fund these important improvements.

Benefits to Our Community

Investing in our infrastructure today will help avoid larger and more costly repairs in the future. It also supports reliable and resilient service for OLWS customers for the next generation. Addressing vulnerabilities now offers many benefits to OLWS and its customers:

  • Promotes continued reliable and resilient wastewater service
  • Greatly reduces risk of Sanitary Sewer Overflows (SSOs)
  • Avoids costly fines for non-compliance with environmental policies
  • Upholds OLWS’ commitment to keep rivers clean
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Thirty wastewater treatment projects and twenty collections system projects have been identified through the year 2052. While some of these projects are urgent and must be addressed in the next 5-10 years, others can and will be deferred to a later date to best manage OLWS’ financial resources.


Opportunities to Give Us Your Input

This is a large and important community investment; OLWS wants to hear from you. Below are Board meetings where you can provide comment about the planned improvements to our shared infrastructure. Meetings are held at 6:00 p.m. PST. You can attend in-person at 14496 SE River Road Oak Grove, OR 97267. For information on how to attend virtually via Zoom, visit

  • Tuesday, March 21
  • Tuesday, May 16
  • Tuesday, April 18
  • Tuesday, June 20
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