Merkley, Wyden Announce $32 Million to Oregon for Drinking Water, Wastewater Infrastructure Advancements

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced a total of $32 million in federal funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headed to Oregon to fund safe drinking water projects and strengthen wastewater infrastructure.  

“Reliable access to clean drinking water is vital to the health and safety of any community—especially during an ongoing global pandemic,” said Merkley, Chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds this program. “I’m pleased these funds will help improve water infrastructure concerns—a top concern I hear from folks in rural Oregon. It is critically important that we help ensure that every community has reliable access to safe drinking water and water sanitation by addressing outdated water infrastructure. I’ll continue to do all I can to ensure clean and reliable drinking water and safe sanitation for all our communities here in Oregon and beyond.”  

“Access to clean drinking water is a human right,” said Wyden, who secured $250 million in the Western Tribal Water Infrastructure Act to help improve drinking water quality and services for tribal communities in Oregon and nationwide. “Between historic drought, catastrophic wildfire and increasingly outdated infrastructure, Oregon communities are in desperate need of federal help to ensure we all have clean drinking water and safe sanitation. As we continue to invest in our nation’s infrastructure, investment in quality water treatment is key to quality of life across the state.”

This $32 million grant is awarded through EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and Clean Water State Revolving Fund programs and is intended to support the development of water treatment facilities and other projects necessary to ensuring clean and safe drinking water for Oregon’s communities, as well as to fund various wastewater projects. 

Some of the projects to be funded in the state’s 2021-2022 drinking water plan include: 

  • $20,000 for the Round Lake Mobile Home Park feasibility study. This project will identify solutions for water system improvements as well as evaluate the adequacy of long-term water supply for this water system. 
  • $19,587 to the city of Gates to replace outdated monitoring equipment and alleviate drinking water quality concerns. Gates will also receive $30,000 from Oregon’s DWSRF Drinking Water Source Protection Fund (DWSPF). ?These funds will be used to install temporary monitoring equipment, collect samples, and then analyze and share the data to gain a better understanding of post fire impacts on sources of drinking water. ? 
  • $100,000 to the Rhododendron Water Association for the purchase of a Riparian Management Area and conservation easement on privately owned timber land to protect the system’s drinking water intake from clear-cut logging activity that could have created water quality issues. ? 
  • $862,145 to Crescent Water Supply and Improvement District will be used for water master planning and well construction. ? 
  • $1,660,761 to Christmas Valley Domestic Water Supply District for distribution system improvements. The project will result in replacement of approximately three miles of distribution piping to help address water loss due to aging steel distribution pipe failure. ?? 

The state’s list of wastewater projects to be funded include: 

  • $30,056,061 to the city of Sweet Home to help the wastewater treatment plant achieve Clean Water Act compliance. The city of Sweet Home project affects a disadvantaged community.? 
  • $1,2500,000 to the city of Bend to address city climate action goals through a collections system master plan update. 
  • $2,000,000 to the Lone Pine Irrigation District for modernization of the of the irrigation system. The Lone Pine Irrigation District qualifies as a disadvantaged community. 
  • $2,313,231 to the city of Madras to a wastewater collection expansion, allowing residences currently on septic to connect to the city sewer. The city of Madras qualifies as a disadvantaged community.