Merkley, Wyden Announce Over $750,000 Water Infrastructure Grant for City of Echo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that the City of Echo, Oregon will receive $769,875 in federal grant funding to upgrade and improve the efficiency of the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The funding is being allocated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Water & Waste Disposal Program.

“Safe, reliable, and efficient water infrastructure is a must for the health and safety of our families and our environment,” said Merkley, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees funding for the USDA. “This project will help protect the Umatilla River and also help ensure that the community will have access to a safe, reliable wastewater treatment system that meets their needs for years to come.”

“Quality of life for rural Oregon requires quality infrastructure for everybody who lives in our state’s smaller communities,” Wyden said. “This year’s devastating floods underscore the need for safe water systems, and I’m glad Echo has earned these federal resources that ensure dependable and secure wastewater treatment for residents in Eastern Oregon while also safeguarding the Umatilla River.”

“The City of Echo is extremely grateful for this opportunity to update an old antiquated wastewater system. The project will consist of completely updating the City’s one and only pump station, dredging out several of our lagoon ponds to allow for adequate wastewater storage, installing a 4 inch pressure main over to the City of Stanfield to meet the requirements for a legal discharge system, installing aerators on the logon ponds to increase surface area and ultimately increase evaporation which should nearly eliminate the need for future pumping over to Stanfield.  As the new City Administrator I would like to thank the previous administration for getting the wheels in motion and allowing the current team to move the project into reality. The new Public Works Director Justin Northern with his engineering background will allow the City to save money on the project by overseeing much of the daily construction oversight instead of paying an outside contractor to do all of that work. We are proud of our little town of Echo and we are looking forward to serving our residents for generations to come,” said David Slaght, City Administrator for the City of Echo.

Echo’s existing lagoon wastewater treatment system, which supplies water to 699 people and has not seen any major improvements since 1985, currently violates Environmental Protection Agency regulations that preclude the system from discharging into the Umatilla River. Today’s grant announcement will support the upgrades needed to help bring the city back into compliance with regulations, and create the capacity needed to accommodate current and increased wastewater flows.

Specific improvements will include lift station and pressure main upgrades, as well as the installation of a new fountain system, and the construction of a new pipeline that will eliminate the need for discharge into the Umatilla River.