Funding for improvements to the Eatonville Water Filtration Plant passed the state house and senate, this past week, according to Town Planner Abby Gribi. The water filtration plant had only been operating with two filters, instead of the three it was intended for.

A third filter will be installed as well as another converted clear water well, Gribi said. One of the plant’s clear water wells is capable of holding 125,000 gallons, about 18 percent of the 700,000 gallons the town can consume in 24 hours.

Gribi said the water plant is not facing any problems and these improvements are about redundancy. Should a failure occur, especially during the summer when water consumption is high, the third filter and clear water well would help to ensure that the town would remain at water capacity.

The rest of Eatonville’s water infrastructure has been showing its age. Eighty-five percent of the town’s water passes through a concrete water tower that dates back to the 1940s.

The town’s infrastructure and budget have become a major focus of the town’s current council. Recently resigned councilmember James Schrimpsher cited this as a primary concern of his during his time on the town council.

“Eatonville has an aging infrastructure, especially around water and power and we’re one catastrophic event away from rolling back into the red just to keep that infrastructure going,” he said.

The town council has been successful in getting the budget back into the black, but problems with infrastructure pose a challenge to that balance. Each filter costs $570,000 and the plant originally cost $3.1 - $3.2 million to install. Further maintenance to water infrastructure requires funds that the town does not currently have, necessitating funding at the state level.

Gribi credits Rep. Andrew Barkis, R- Dist. 2, since he advocated for the Town of Eatonville and helped the town to get a spot in the state budget.