The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development is investing $1.7 million to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant serving the rural community of Echo in northwest Oregon, announced State Director John Huffman today.
"Utility services are essential for public health and safety, as well as for economic vitality, but maintaining the necessary infrastructure can strain a small town's budget," said Huffman. "Today's investment will enable a very small, rural Oregon community to meet the needs of its residents and businesses."
The wastewater treatment system in the small town of Echo has not undergone any improvements since 1985 and is no longer able to comply with updated environmental standards.
With the help of a $929,000 loan and a $769,875 grant from USDA's Water and Waste Disposal Program, as well as $1 million from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Echo will upgrade the plant's lift station and pressure main. The town will also build a pipeline to transport the effluent to the nearby Stanfield collection system, eliminating the need to discharge treated wastewater into the Umatilla River. This solution avoids the need to build additional storage and treatment infrastructure, making it the most cost-effective option while also increasing the plant's treatment capacity.
Overall, this project will ensure this rural community of 699 people has a safe, reliable wastewater treatment system to meet its needs for years to come.
Nationwide, USDA is investing $462 million in 161 projects that will benefit 467,000 rural residents nationwide. The funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of the loan and grant agreements.
Rural Development's Water and Waste Disposal Program financing can be used to build or upgrade drinking water, storm water drainage, and waste disposal systems in rural communities with a population of 10,000 or less. Most state and local government entities, nonprofits, and federally-recognized tribes are eligible to apply. Applications are accepted year-round, and local staff members are available to discuss potential projects.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety, and healthcare; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/or.