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Ecology and salmon related articles

Loan Propels Project

by Larry Meyer
Argus Observer, April 8, 2008

Funding from Oregon economic agency will help Nyssa with treatment plant venture

Myra Hartley, wastewater system supervisor, washes down the deck around Nyssa's wastewater treatment plant, which will be soon be replaced by a lagoon system. The city now has has been approved for the last piece of needed funding for the project NYSSA - The city now holds the final piece of the funding puzzle to start construction on its new wastewater treatment facility in the wake of an announcement from the Oregon Economic and Community Development regarding a $1.1 million loan to Nyssa.

"We have the funding in place to get started," Nyssa City Manager Roberta Donovan said.

The new wastewater plant will consist of a lagoon system, which will end the city's discharge into the Snake River from its current treatment facility.

Donovan said she hopes the process regarding funding a new facility will move faster now.

"That (the loan) will help us get going until we get the bond," she said.

The OECD loan - a total of $1,160,500 - was approved last week. The OECD money, plus a $3.5 million loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, is essentially interim funding to get the treatment facility project off the ground. The rest of the money for the project is bundled up in $6.55 million of United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development grants and loans, available through the sale of bonds.

According to plans, which are still being finalized, treated water will be used for irrigating city-owned fields that will be part of the project. As soon as she receives the approval, Donovan said she will proceed with negotiations on the purchase of the land for the proposed facility.

The project will include a new lift station, pressure sewer, as well as a faculty lagoon system and irrigation system. The old treatment facility will be demolished.

Donovan said ground-breaking on the project will probably not take place until spring of 2009.

Nyssa officials signed a mutual agreement order with the state and federal agencies in the 1990s to update or replace its wastewater treatment facility in 1995, but that effort was put on hold while the Snake River-Hells Canyon Total Maximum Daily Load document was written, putting water quality standards for the river in place.

But once a final TMDL plan was set and officials determined how much the city must reduce its pollutants discharged into the river, the order was back enforce. While the initial expense is larger for a lagoon system, city officials decided it would be less expensive to maintain in the long-run, and Nyssa would eventually have to stop discharging water into the river even with a new treatment plant, as water quality standards are tightened.

"It is really needed," Myra Hartley, wastewater system supervisor, said of the new facility.

Larry Meyer
Loan Propels Project
Argus Observer, April 8, 2008

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