Communities will use the funds to improve water treatment and install new infrastructure.
Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced Thursday that community-initiated projects in two Oregon communities will receive $3.5 million in funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to upgrade water infrastructure in their communities.
According to a joint press release from the two senators, the City of Willamina will receive $2 million and the City of Prineville will receive $1.5 million. The funding was secured under the Fiscal Year 2022 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations portion of the government spending bill, which Merkley wrote.
The City of Prineville will use the funds to support modifications to its two existing wells, and to design a new aquifer storage and recovery well — and to upgrade its water treatment facility, with the intention of increasing drinking water production and connecting more residents to the system.
The City of Willamina will use the funds to install a new raw water intake and complete stormwater improvements, with the intention of improving safety and reliability in the Willamina Creek drinking water source.
Both projects are community-initiated projects, generated by locals at the ground level, according to a joint press release from Wyden and Merkley’s offices.
“No one knows the unique needs of communities across Oregon like the folks living and working in them, and community-initiated projects—generated at the ground level—are local and regional solutions by folks who are working to make their communities better,” Merkley said in the release. “It’s great to see these projects are now underway, and I look forward to hearing how they will benefit the communities of Prineville and Willamina.”
In the release, Willamina mayor Ila Skyberg praised “the sincere interest shown by Senator Merkley and his staff” during a visit to the community.
“Both Senators Merkley, and Wyden have proven once again, that they are working hard for the state of Oregon, and small towns such as Willamina,” Skyberg said.