Monroe will begin the planning stages of a new stormwater master plan thanks to a loan from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Monroe's sewer system overflows periodically after heavy rains. Sometimes this sends untreated sewage into the Long Tom River that flows into the Willamette. A new planning loan from the Oregon DEQ allows Monroe officials to begin investigating ways to improve the system and solve the problem.
Officials know part of the problem is aging conveyance pipes. They need to be replaced, but the actual cost of repairs cannot be determined until researchers take samples and surveys. After this, the city can decide how the $100,000 loan will be spent.
William Knight, a spokesman for the DEQ says repairing the system will save the city expenses in the future.
Knight: "It's not economical in the long run for the city to be treating water that doesn't need to be treated, i.e. the water that's entering the system either from the ground or the manhole covers. So they can get a lot more efficiency and they can save a lot more by fixing it now rather than just trying to treat that whole body of water."
Knight says small towns like Monroe have less access to federal funds. Loans such as this allow them to make infrastructure repairs they can't afford on their own.