USDA announces $1M grant to fix Detroit water treatment plant destroyed by fire

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development is investing $1 million to restore potable water to the rural town of Detroit after its treatment plant was destroyed in a wildfire.

“Access to safe drinking water is essential for residents to be able to return to this rural community and begin rebuilding after the devastating wildfires of 2020,” said USDA Rural Development Acting State Director of Oregon Jill Rees. “This grant will help the community create an interim solution that will provide potable water for residents while the town pursues a long-term solution.”

Detroit, located along the North Santiam Highway east of Salem, was substantially impacted by the Santiam Fire in the fall of 2020.

Its water treatment plant was destroyed, and much of the watershed that provides the town’s drinking water was burned, requiring high grade filters to produce potable water.

“After the incredible suffering our community has experienced, this grant will provide some much-needed support for critical repairs to our water system,” said Detroit Mayor Jim Trett. “As we continue to rebuild and work to provide basic necessities for our community, we thank Senator Merkley and Senator Wyden for all their efforts in advocating for quick relief, and we look forward to continued federal assistance.”

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With a $1 million Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant from USDA, Detroit will build a temporary ultrafiltration packaged plant and renovate the reservoir to house it.

This funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant agreement.

The project will enable this rural town of 202 people to begin rebuilding their community and recovering from the catastrophic wildfire while they identify a permanent solution for their drinking water needs.

USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas.

This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing, community facilities such as schools, public safety, and health care facilities; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. Learn more at www.rd.usda.gov/or.

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