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Klamath Falls getting $345,000 to improve water recycling efforts

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(The Center Square) – Klamath Falls, Oregon, will get $345,000 in federal taxpayer funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act to help conserve groundwater and increase its recycled water supply.

“Communities in the Klamath Basin are feeling the dire impact of years of consecutive drought. From families to Tribal communities to local businesses, to fish and wildlife, the impact of drought touches every part of the region,” U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, said in a statement. “We need to do all we can to foster a sustainable, efficient water supply for the cities like Klamath Falls. With this investment in recycled water utilization and wastewater treatment modernization, the City of Klamath Falls can continue to forge a path to preserve groundwater, enhance river health, and work to fight climate chaos.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, expressed a similar sentiment.

“Rural communities in Oregon depend on water for everything from taking showers at home to sustaining their entire economies,” Wyden said. “I’m glad this funding from the legislation I fought to pass is supporting Klamath Falls and the environment by helping to sustain water levels for the city, and also reducing waste flowing into the Klamath River.”

Water recycling takes water from many sources, including wastewater, and treats the water so it can be reused for various purposes — including drinking water. Some of those other purposes include “agriculture and irrigation, potable water supplies, groundwater replenishment, industrial processes, and environmental restoration,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

The Bureau of Reclamation is distributing this federal funding.

Klamath Falls will use this funding to create a strategy along with the South Suburban Sanitation District to increase the supply and amount of Klamath Falls’ recycled water. The city will also “improve the quality of discharges from the wastewater treatment plant to the Klamath River,” the release said.

Klamath Falls produces recycled water at the Spring Street Sewage Treatment Plant and sends that water to the Avangrid Cogeneration plant to be used for cooling tower water, a spokesman for the city told The Center Square in an email.

The water is then sent back to the Spring Street plant for discharge to Lake Ewauna.

“Sometimes the city must add potable water to the recycled water to supply sufficient water for the cooling tower process,” the city told The Center Square.

Specifically, the grant will fund a study to see if the city can partner with the South Suburban Sanitation District to “increase the amount of recycled water available for the cooling tower process to eliminate the need to use potable water,” the city spokesman said.

“We are grateful for the support and collaboration of Senators Merkley and Wyden in securing federal funding for the City of Klamath Falls’ Recycled Water Strategy,” Jonathan Teichert, Klamath Falls City Manager, said in the release. “This funding will allow us to develop a comprehensive plan to increase the supply and quality of recycled water, conserving our potable water supplies and improving the quality of discharges to the Klamath River. Their dedication to conservation and water resource management is truly appreciated.”

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