Portland, OR, May 03, 2011 -- On May 4, 2011, the Keno Water Company breaks ground on a complete renovation of its drinking water system. The new system will include a new well, water mains, booster station, fire hydrants, and 250,000-gallon storage tank.
Keno Water Company is a resident-owned nonprofit water service cooperative serving 94 residences in southwest Klamath County.
The existing water system, including an aging redwood storage tank, was installed in the 1970s. Maintaining water quality and water pressure have been an increasing challenge, and the community lacks adequate fire protection. One of the system’s two wells is vulnerable to the same groundwater pollution that forced the local elementary school to shut down its well.
In addition to solving these problems, the new water system will expand service to the local elementary school and several downtown residences and businesses.
“We’ve been working for seven years to bring this project to the community,” said Keno Water chairman Mike Neuman. “We’re excited to see it finally happening. We couldn’t have done it without lots of help from USDA and DEQ.”
Funding for the project was provided in 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in the form of a $963,000 loan and a $641,000 grant through Rural Development, a division of the US Department of Agriculture that administers a number of housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs for rural communities. USDA Rural Development also provided $96,242 in loans and $171,000 in grant through the regularly funded program in 2011. Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) provided a $150,000 grant that was used during the planning stage of the project. The Water Company also contributed $69,000 of its own money.
“Rural Development’s support for rural water projects reflects our commitment to ensuring that rural communities have access to critical infrastructure that will help them grow, create jobs, attract businesses and provide necessary services to their residents,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Vicki Walker.
“In addition to USDA Rural Development support, the funding leveraged through DEQ and the local community was key to making this project successful,” she said.
Through the years, Rural Development’s Water and Waste Program has been a vital funding source for many rural communities in Oregon. In recent years USDA has also funded water systems with the City of Hood River, Tri City Water and Sanitary Authority, Seal Rock Water District, the City of Irrigon, and others.