City of Vernonia, USDA Break Ground on Wastewater System Improvement Project

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Join the City of Vernonia, USDA Rural Development, elected officials, and residents to celebrate the groundbreaking for a wastewater system improvement project nearly 20 years in the making. Funded by Rural Development, this project will improve water quality for the local community and native fish species while also upgrading the town’s infrastructure and safeguarding it against flooding.

Who:         The groundbreaking ceremony will be attended by City of Vernonia Mayor Randall J. Parrow; USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker; representatives from the Offices of Senator Ron Wyden, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici; staff from both the City of Vernonia and USDA; and representatives from the construction company Tetra Tech. Also invited are representatives from the State of Oregon, local officials, and the public.

What:        A groundbreaking ceremony for the City of Vernonia’s wastewater treatment system improvement project.

When:       Tuesday, August 25, 2015,  11:00 AM 

Where:      Off of California Avenue, Vernonia, OR 97064

The wastewater treatment plant is located across from the Blue Heron Hollow Apartments. A sign is posted at the entrance to the wastewater treatment plant. Parking is available on California Avenue.

In 1996 and 2007, Vernonia experienced major flooding that inundated the city’s wastewater treatment lagoons, as well as other public facilities and numerous private properties, demonstrating the need for improvements to the city’s wastewater system. In addition, the current system is susceptible to exfiltration, resulting in unmonitored discharges of treated effluent into the Nehalem River. With assistance from a USDA Rural Development loan of $5.6 million and a $2.2 million grant provided through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, the city will purchase new equipment and upgrade the current wastewater lagoon system to meet tighter National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements. The lagoons will be raised above the 100-year flood level and the 2007 flood high water mark. A new infiltration pipe will be installed, allowing the treated effluent to cool before entering the river, improving stream temperatures for native fish. In addition, Rural Development is refinancing a $2.7 million Department of Environmental Quality loan to the city, taking it from a 20-year term to a 40-year term and helping to keep the city’s costs low. This project will ensure clean water supplies, a healthy environment, adequate utilities, and updated infrastructure to help this rural community thrive into the future.