Contributed photo/Jeanne Strange
The city of Monument has just wrapped up a wastewater improvement project and applied for grant money for improvements to its public water supply system, according to City Manager and City Recorder Dorothy Jordan.
A federal grant was used to install a chlorination system to treat wastewater from the lagoons before it’s land-applied by sprinklers, she said. The grant was also used to purchase emergency generators for the wastewater plant, and an existing federal loan was refinanced through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she said.
Monument’s water system has one well and a storage tank on a hill above the football field providing water for the city’s 130 residents through 83 commercial and residential hook-ups, she said. A high-water event in 2011 drove the need to upgrade the system.
“The well was deemed ‘under the influence of surface water’ by the Oregon Health Authority,” Jordan said.
The city received a technical assistance grant from the Oregon Infrastructure Finance Authority to study the best options to avoid a repeat of the 2011 problem. An engineering firm recommended the city draft a water master plan, Jordan said, but OHA said Monument was too small to require a water master plan and turned down the city’s application for a Community Development Block Grant to pay for the plan.
“The city council didn’t want the ratepayers to bear the burden for something intangible like a water master plan, so we looked at other options,” Jordan said.
The city is currently under an administrative order issued by OHA that requires a solution by January 2019, Jordan said. The city plans to hire a firm to draft a preliminary engineering report to determine if a filtration system for the well will solve the problem and how much a filtration system will cost to install and to operate and maintain.
Scott Fairley at Business Oregon said the state is wrapping up the paperwork for another $20,000 grant to pay for the preliminary engineering report. The engineers will determine if it’s more cost effective to put in another well or install a filtration system for the old well.
In the meantime, the water is chlorinated and safe to drink, and the city has implemented small rate increases over the past few years in anticipation of needed improvements, Jordan said.
Monument recently signed a contract with Western Display Fireworks for next year’s Fourth of July celebration.
“We put on the best fireworks show in Grant County,” Jordan said.
Funding for the display comes from generous donations from community members, she said. The successful Buckaroo Festival in September raised money for the Monument Senior Association, which maintains the community’s senior center, and Mayor Sahara Hyder has applied for state grant money to improve the city’s downtown park, Jordan said.