Prineville Starts Work on Wastewater Upgrades

September 29, 2015
Prineville Starts Work on Wastewater Upgrades

by Kelly Bleyer

PRINEVILLE, OR -- Prineville is moving ahead with a new wastewater treatment system, thanks to new federal funds. The U.S. Department of Agriculture just awarded the city a $4 million loan and a $1 million grant to put in new sewer lines and upgrade the pump station, among other things. Vicki Walker with the USDA Rural Development Department tells KBND, "They're doing some really unique things. They're going to put their treated wastewater into a wetland instead of discharging it into the Crooked River. I think that's very environmentally sound and it will help the community be able to expand capacity."

The funding will cover more than half of the $9 million project. Prineville Mayor Betty Roppe tells KBND the new wetland area will be cheaper than a traditional mechanical system. "A mechanical plant would have cost $62 million and it was reduced to $6.6 million; and our wastewater System Development Charges were reduced from $9,147 to $3,875 per equipment dwelling unit, which will really stimulate economic development for us." She says it will also allow the wastewater rates to remain constant for quite a while. "And, riparian improvements will be made to over two miles of the Crooked River. And, our citizens will have access to over two miles of the Crooked River, as well as 160-acres of wetland park area," Roppe says.

Prineville's existing system began operations in 1960 and currently serves more than 9,000 residents. The city will start taking bids for the work in the next couple weeks and hope to break ground in October. The project is expected to take two to three years. Mayor Roppe hopes to have the new system up and running in 2017.

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