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Murray, Perez secure $3 million for Salmon Creek Wastewater Treatment facility

A multimillion-dollar project to improve the Salmon Creek Wastewater Treatment facility — and prepare for Clark County’s expected population growth — is moving forward thanks to $3 million in federal funding.

The treatment plant is owned by Discovery Clean Water Alliance, which is jointly owned and managed by the cities of Battle Ground and Ridgefield, Clark County and the Clark Regional Wastewater District. The plant serves more than 50,000 homes and businesses in Clark County.

The money was secured by U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and U.S. Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez, D-Skamania, as part of a $1.2 trillion package of funding bills passed by Congress in March.

“This is an important regional treatment facility handling half of the planned growth in Clark County and serving a large area from Hazel Dell to Ridgefield and east to Battle Ground,” John Peterson, general manager for Clark Regional Wastewater District, said in an email. “Mechanical process equipment systems installed in the 1990s are now approaching 30 years old and are at the end of their useful life. The funding will assist the alliance in replacing several systems with newer technology that is more efficient and more reliable.”

Peterson, who also serves as executive director of the alliance, said equipment to be replaced includes aeration equipment for treating wastewater; equipment for disinfecting wastewater before discharge to the Columbia River; and thickening and dewatering systems for handling the solids removed in the treatment process.

Support in Congress

“(Perez) visited the Salmon Creek Treatment Plant last summer, the first sitting member of Congress to do so, and recognized the essential service it provides. With her Community Project Funding investment, we’ll be able to replace outdated equipment with modern technology that will make our treatment system more efficient and reliable, and ultimately benefit the 150,000 residents in Battle Ground, Ridgefield and central Clark County that our regional partnership serves,” Peterson said.

Perez said investing in projects, such as the Salmon Creek treatment plant, “are the nuts and bolts of how government can serve the people.”

“This funding would be used to accelerate replacement of wastewater treatment equipment — dewatering equipment and an ultraviolet disinfection system — that are not only inefficient when compared to modern technology but are requiring increased maintenance and repair,” Perez wrote in a March 23 funding request to ranking members of the House Appropriations Committee.

As chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Murray led the Senate in passing the six-bill federal funding package with a 75-22 vote. The package includes more than a billion dollars for projects and programs in Washington, as well as a historic $3 billion investment for the Hanford site cleanup.

“When I sit down at any negotiating table, I bring with me the stories of every parent struggling to afford child care, groceries, or rent, every farmer and fisher whose livelihood depends on our crops, our salmon, and our environment, every researcher focused on making the next big breakthrough, every mayor focused on improving our infrastructure, and every young person who is concerned about climate change and our most basic rights,” Murray said March 14 from the Senate floor.

Upgrades and improvements to the wastewater treatment plant are expected to be completed during the 2025-26 biennium, an official with the alliance said.

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