Town of Waterville receives word of Public Works Trust funding

By Karen Larsen
Empire Press Correspondent

The Town of Waterville has been informed by the Public Works Trust Fund that it will be funded for sewer collection design and repairs. The town had applied for a loan of $900,000 to replace and reline 3,000 linear feet of the 52,000 linear foot system.

Clerk/Treasurer Marsha Peterson said Aug. 14 that officials from the Trust Fund had promised to send a confirmation email with more specific information about the terms of the loan, but the town has not received that email yet.

Peterson said that Public Works Trust Fund loans are 20-year loans and that interest rates are lower than other public agencies.

“We would be very foolish not to go forward with this funding,” Peterson said.

Peterson said that some years ago the town council was looking into replacing the lagoon system. That will probably still be necessary at some point, but the council members shifted their attention to the collection system after Anderson-Perry wastewater engineer Jake Hollopeter told them that even a new lagoon system would not be sufficient to safely hold waste if the problems in the current collection system are not fixed.

“It makes no sense to build a new system out there and still have that overflow,” Peterson said.

At the Aug. 5 town council meeting, the council learned that there had been 12 violations issued by the Department of Ecology to the Town of Waterville between March 2016 and June 2018 regarding the lagoon system exceeding capacity for the design.

The lagoon system has never flowed over, but the violations point to the risk of this happening at some point if nothing is done to address the problem of pipes that absorb surface water during wet periods.

Peterson said that she has done some calculations and found that if the town receives a 20-year $900,000 loan, the principal and interest payments would be about $55,000 per year. She said that her estimate is that each connection would need to pay an additional $12 per month in order to fund this.

Hollopeter gave the news about the Public Works Trust funding to the town council at the Aug. 5 meeting and said that the project could go out for bid and work could begin in 2020.