Merkley, Wyden: $15 Million to Improve Water Systems in Aumsville 

Senators announce $6 million federal grant, $9 million federal loan to build new wastewater treatment facility in the city 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced the City of Aumsville will be receiving a $6 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development program to help the city build a new wastewater treatment facility that meets state and federal environmental standards. In addition, USDA Rural Development also approved a $9 million loan, bringing the city closer than ever to bringing a new facility online. 

The City of Aumsville – a small community in rural Marion County – currently has a wastewater system that is unable to meet Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) standards for ammonia runoff levels. The cost of constructing and operating a new facility would reportedly double sewer bills in a town of 4,200 community members. This federal investment and loan will cover over half the cost of a new facility— which is projected to total over $27 million—that will meet the city’s current and future wastewater treatment needs to ensure the bulk of the financial burden is not shouldered by the Aumsville community through massive utility increases. 

“Reliable water infrastructure, that provides clean water without damaging the local environment, benefits the health of a whole community,” said Merkley. “This sizeable federal investment and capital infusion will ensure that Aumsville residents can build the wastewater treatment facility they need to bring them into the 21st Century without facing triple digit water bills.” 

“Communities depend on water and wastewater systems to grow and thrive, and having efficient and safe water infrastructure is all the more important when facing dry conditions brought on by the current climate crisis,” Wyden said. “I’ll continue to fight for investments that support critical infrastructure like this, making Oregonians everyday lives more affordable and less worrisome.”

“The city expresses its gratitude for the invaluable support provided by our state and Federal representatives in securing a loan package worth $15 million, featuring a reduced interest rate and a loan forgiveness allowance of $6 million,” said Aumsville Mayor Ceja. “Considering the small size of our rural community, consisting of only 4200 residents, this funding has proven to be almost insurmountable. Without it, our residents would simply not be able to afford their homes or cover the cost of essential services.”  

With the additional of these latest major federal investments, the city has secured over $23 million dollars through grants and loans to build a new wastewater treatment facility. Once complete, the improvements will include a new Sequence Batch Reactor (SBR) system and an upgraded portion of the city’s collection system. The project will bring the city into compliance with its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.