By Jim Bloch
The city of Marysville will apply for a low interest state loan to finance an $8.4 project to improve the city’s sewer system. The city’s sanitary sewer collection system needs approximately $7.6 million in improvements; the wastewater treatment plant requires around $800,000 in updates.
The main work on the collection system will focus on sewer lining and manhole rehabilitation with the goal of removing the inflow and infiltration of storm water into the system. A number of the city’s sewer lines are approaching 80 years old. In the plant, headwork hydraulics improvements and secondary clarifier optimization will be the main orders of business.
The city council approved the grant application at its regular meeting Feb. 8 by a vote of 5-0. Council members Dave Barber and Paul Wessel were absent.
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“I call it the-train-keeps moving,” said Randy Fernandez, city manager, as heard on the recording of the regular meeting posted on the city website. “About a year ago, we found out that we need improvements to our water and wastewater plants. We believe we have an option to pay for those improvements through a state loan.”
The city will pay HRC $39,390 to draft a plan for the sewer system repairs, submit the draft to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy, participate in a public hearing on the project, and submit the final plan to EGLE.
The loan will come from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Interest rates for 2021 are 1.875 percent over 20 years or 2.125 percent over 30 years. The work is scheduled to take place in 2022, for which interest rates have not been set, but they are expected to remain historically low.
The council also voted to apply for $3.4 million in loans for work on the city’s water distribution system and treatment plant.
Karen Stickel, an engineer with Hubbell, Roth and Clark, Inc. of Detroit, discussed the loans.
“On the sanitary side, the city of Marysville received a Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater grant, better known as a SAW grant,” said Stickel.
Marysville applied for the $2 million SAW grant in 2013. The program was created by a statewide popular vote in 2002 to improve the water quality of the state’s lakes and rivers through the better management of contaminated stormwater and other non-point sources of water pollution, but it took more than a decade to launch.
“As part of that, you were able to inventory the city’s sanitary collection system, wastewater treatment plant and storm system,” said Stickel. “Their condition was evaluated and improvements were developed. The SAW report became a planning document to financially plan for capital improvement projects through the year 2040.”
Stickel reviewed funding options, including sewer rate increases and selling bonds.
“One of the reasons we’re looking at the (revolving fund loan) is that there is a potential for principal forgiveness on these loans,” Stickel said. “It wouldn’t be 100 percent principal forgiveness, but it would be a chance to get some of that loan forgiven through their Green Project Reserve — so that’s looking at energy efficiency, water efficiency, different green components that would knock off some of your cost.”
The draft of the project plan is due to EGLE by March 15; the final submission date is June 1.
“It’ anticipated that EGLE would announce the funding toward the end of the summer,” said Stickel.
“What is the life expectancy of these improvements?” asked Kathy Hayman, mayor pro tem. About 40-50 years in the collection system and maybe 20 years at the plant, said Stickel.