Merkley, Wyden Announce $450,000 for Water System Improvements in Echo 

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be awarding the City of Echo $450,000 to replace water service connections that are over 30 years old and create a digital mapping system. 

“Outdated and underfunded water infrastructure is at a greater risk of failing, leaving community members and businesses without clean, safe water – especially in rural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,” said Senator Merkley, Chair of the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds this program. “Investments like this are critical not just for safety of the Echo community members, but also for helping the City and surrounding area thrive.”     

“This federal investment in Echo will help to protect clean water for Oregonians living and working in this small community,” Wyden said. “I’m glad the teamwork with the town and Senator 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.”

This project was a community-initiated project, with funding coming from the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act. This funding will help the City of Echo replace the potable water system while avoiding putting a larger financial burden on its ratepayers, and establish a GIS digital mapping system to help the City create an accurate digital system for all future related maintenance work. 

“This is such great news and we are so grateful for the support from Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden. Both of these Senators have taken time out of their busy schedules to actually talk with myself and our Mayor Chad Ray,” said David Slaght, Echo City Administrator. “Senator 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. The City of Echo and all of the residents will benefit from this and it will get us one step closer to accomplishing our goal of updating our aging infrastructure and keeping utility rates from going up too much. And with the new services, the city can effectively manage water usage much better, thus conserving our precious resource.  On behalf of our little city, we thank you for the continued support!” 

In June 2022, Senator Merkley toured the area with City officials to learn about the need for this project.