Merkley, Wyden Announce Key USDA Wastewater Investments for Rural Oregonians

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced nearly $3 million in federal grants, and over $4.5 million in federal loans, for critical wastewater treatment and municipal water system upgrades. The rural development funds will go to the cities of Cascade Locks and Amity.

“When I meet with local leaders from every corner of Oregon, urban and rural, they tell me that water infrastructure is a top priority. Investments in water infrastructure create good jobs and are critical to the health of our communities,” said Merkley, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the USDA Rural Development Program that allocated the grants and loans. “I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to work with local leaders in Cascade Locks and Amity to secure this federal funding, and to help ensure that Oregonians can rely on high-quality water systems.”

“An essential piece of quality of life for Oregonians throughout our state is water infrastructure that’s solid and safe,” Wyden said. “Community leaders in Cascade Locks and Amity worked hard to earn these federal resources, and I am glad to have teamed up with them in their successful efforts to make important upgrades to water infrastructure in both cities.”

Cascade Locks’ awards of over $3.2 million in loan financing and $1 million in grant funding will be used to help the community’s wastewater treatment system meet National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements. Specific improvements for the Hood River County town will include upgrading the wastewater treatment facility’s UV light disinfection system, sludge management, and pH adjustments, and will fund the installation of a new grit removal system. In addition, the facility will repair undersized pumps and electrical issues in the main pump station, and fix damaged or leaking pipes and manholes.

Amity will receive over $1.6 million in loan financing and nearly $1.8 million in grant funding to upgrade the community’s municipal water system to keep pace with increasing demand. The awards will help Amity, in Yamhill County, improve its water intake system, and help install larger pumps. These efforts will ensure that the municipal water system will be a source of clean, reliable drinking water for all community residents.