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Arlington wastewater treatment plant gets $10 million loan

Arlington City Council member Dick Butner, Utilities Manager James Kelly and Utilities Staff Accountant Kris Wallace watch as Gov. Christine Gregoire signs House Bill 2437. -
Arlington City Council member Dick Butner, Utilities Manager James Kelly and Utilities Staff Accountant Kris Wallace watch as Gov. Christine Gregoire signs House Bill 2437.
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OLYMPIA The next step in improving the city of Arlingtons wastewater treatment plant was made official March 7, when Gov. Christine Gregoire signed House Bill 2437, authorizing a number of cities to receive low-interest loans from the Public Works Trust Fund.
Arlington was at the top of the list, laughed city of Arlington Utilities Manager Jim kelly, who joined Utilities Staff Accountant Kris Wallace and City Council member Dick Butner in watching Gregoire sign HB 2437 March 7. Of course, it was an alphabetical list.
The PWTF loan for 2008 is the third and largest such loan that the city of Arlington has received for its wastewater treatment plant. The $10 million loan includes an interest rate of 0.5 percent over the course of a 20-year period, and covers the costs of constructing the membrane bio-reactor system and support building for the plant.
This will include not only the procurement of membranes, pumps, motors and controllers from a membrane system supplier, but also the contracting of all labor and materials necessary to construct a building and tanks that will be able to house and support the membranes and all of the ancillary support equipment.
If this was a bond, and we were paying 6 percent interest, wed be paying $13 million in interest on $18 million over 20 years, Kelly said.
The first PWTF loan, for $7 million in 2006, covered the costs of the wastewater treatment plant solids handling project and study, engineering report and outside review, preliminary design, property and right-of-way acquisition, community outreach, equipment pre-purchase and pilot study, membrane bio-reactor evaluations and miscellaneous pre-construction charges, from travel and meetings to advertising and printing.
Among the actual construction covered by the 2006 loan was the modification and expansion of the headworks, aeration basins, aerobic digestion, existing wastewater treatment plant support building and solids handling.
This covered repairs, so that we wouldnt be in violation of the Department of Ecology, Kelly said.
In 2007, a second PWTF loan for $1 million was earmarked for pre-construction, including the wastewater treatment plant final design, design value engineering, funding program and archaeological mitigation.
According to Kelly, the next step will be to apply for state revolving funds, which will require the city to show need and design readiness to proceed. To that end, he expects that the design for the wastewater treatment plant will be ready by September.
Itll be more low-interest loans, Kelly said. Itd be great if we could build this for free, but thats not going to happen. Grants like that only go to the truly needy, and those are determined by measuring median income levels for an area against their utility rates.
While it wont be free, Kelly touted the dollars already saved by design value engineering, since the project began with an estimated price tag of $49 million, which has since been reduced to an estimated $31.3 million.
Its not the cheapest, but its got the best value, Kelly said.

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