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City of Coburg Celebrates Improved Water Quality, Increased Capacity for Growth with New Wastewater Treatment Plant

Erin McDuff
Release Date
Jan 13, 2015

Today, the City of Coburg, in Oregon’s southern Willamette Valley, celebrated the completion of a new wastewater collection and treatment system, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development. The new system will replace the need for residents and local businesses to rely solely on private septic tanks and wastewater drain fields, improving water quality and eliminating barriers to future growth for this rural community with a population of 1,035.

“The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that our small, rural communities have the infrastructure they need to grow and thrive,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker. “High quality wastewater treatment systems, like this one, help position towns for future economic and community development, creating vibrant communities for future generations.”

The City of Coburg used a variety of federal, state, and local sources to help fund this $26.7 million infrastructure project, including $6 million in loans and $2 million in grants from USDA Rural Development. The funding helped to pay for the installation of a Septic Tank Effluent Pump (STEP) wastewater collection system that will direct the wastewater to the treatment plant through pressurized sewer pipes while preventing significant infiltration of groundwater by the effluent. The funding also helped to pay for the installation of a Membrane Bioreactor (MBR) system, which will treat the effluent as it arrives at the plant. The system will produce a high level of water quality, exceeding Oregon’s Level IV quality standards for all non-potable water use. The reclaimed wastewater will help to irrigate the City’s landscaped areas, parks, and school grounds, with additional reclaimed water being made available to residents and businesses for irrigation upon request. The City plans to use the remaining reclaimed water to enhance and restore wetlands in the Coburg area.

By providing a lower interest rate than originally anticipated, USDA Rural Development improved the City’s bottom line, reducing the interest payments over the lifetime of the loans by $1.1 million. Now complete and in operation, the new municipal sewer system will eliminate the risk of groundwater pollution and improve water quality while simultaneously providing the capacity for future growth for this rural community.

Additional funding assistance for this project was provided by the Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Protection Agency, Economic Development Administration, and the Oregon Economic and Community Development Department.

President Obama's historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way - strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities.