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Malden residents receive funds for new sewer system, other resources to aid in rebuilding efforts

Geoffrey Roth/Northwest Public Broadcasting
A new home under construction in Malden, Washington. Most of the town was destroyed during a wildfire in September, 2020.

Residents of the Whitman County town of Malden, which was destroyed in a wildfire more than two years ago, will receive nearly $2 million to build a new sewer system. The funds are a part of a spending package recently approved by Congress and signed into law by President Biden.

The town of Malden now has several key infrastructure projects underway. A new well, funds to repair its street system, and now – thanks to the federal spending bill approved in late December – money to connect nearly all residents to a sewer system.

“Our town is basically the newest town in the state of Washington,” he said. “That's exactly how it feels day after day.”

That’s Malden Mayor Dan Harwood. He said before the fire, all residents were dependent on septic systems, some of which were decades old. He said the new federal funds are a major step to both rebuilding, and modernizing the community.

“It is progress, and it is a step on the ladder,” he said.

Harwood said help has also come from non-profit and church groups. They’ve rebuilt eight houses for residents. He said one of the next big steps is bringing high speed internet to the community.

Rebecca White is a 2018 graduate of Edward R Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University. She's been a reporter at Spokane Public Radio since February 2021. She got her start interning at her hometown paper The Dayton Chronicle and previously covered county government at The Spokesman-Review.