Echo gets $450,000 for water improvement systems

 Hermiston Herald
The city of Echo will receive nearly half a million in federal funds from the Environmental Protection Agency for water improvement systems.

According to a press release, Oregon Sens. Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced Friday, Sept. 15, that Echo has been awarded $450,000 to replace 30-plus-year-old water service connections and create a digital mapping system.

“This is such great news and we are so grateful for the support from Sen. Merkley and Sen. Wyden,” City Administrator David Slaght said. “Both of these senators have taken time out of their busy schedules to actually talk with myself and our mayor, Chad Ray. Sen. Merkley has made time for Echo on more than one occasion to allow us to specifically address our infrastructure needs for the community. Receiving the news that our water meter project has finally been awarded the funds to proceed is incredible.”

He added the city and its residents would benefit from the funds as it worked to update aging infrastructure and prevent costly utility rate increases.

“And with the new services,” Slaght said, “the city can effectively manage water usage much better, thus conserving our precious resource.”

Merkley said outdated and underfunded water infrastructure is at a greater risk of failing, leaving community members and businesses without clean, safe water – especially in rural communities.

“Investments like this are critical not just for safety of the Echo community members, but also for helping the city and surrounding area thrive,” he said.

Wyden said the investment would help protect clean water for Oregonians living and working in Echo.

“I’m glad the teamwork with the town and Sen. Merkley has paid such solid dividends that will build an even stronger rural quality of life for residents and small businesses in and around Echo,” he said.

The community-initiated project came together with funding from the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act. This funding will help Echo replace the potable water system while avoiding larger financial burdens on ratepayers, and establish a GIS digital mapping system to help the city for all future related maintenance work.