City receives approval for $27.6 million loan
December 11, 2019
The State Lands and Investments Board gave conditional approval for a $27.6 million loan Green River intends to use towards the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility.
Green River Mayor Pete Rust said the approval was granted Thursday. He said the conditional approval is based on the city’s ability to prove it can pay back the loan, which he isn’t concerned about. The city intends to gradually raise its sewer rates to pay back the loan.
The city currently treats wastewater through a lagoon system originally constructed in 1962. The last update to that system happened in 1989. The system operates beyond its intended life expectancy and many of the parts needed to keep the system operational are not commercially available, forcing the city to have the replacement parts built as needed. During previous Green River City Council meetings, Finance Manager Chris Meats has said the city faces a situation where a catastrophic failure with its wastewater system is possible and could cost the city more than $1 million in emergency repairs.
Planning for a new wastewater treatment facility has been ongoing for nearly five years, starting with an initial study in 2014. Mark Westenskow, public works director for the city, said the new treatment plant would be located at the space used for the Overland Stage Stampede Rodeo’s reserve parking near the current wastewater treatment building.
The space occupied by the lagoons will be reclaimed and dried out, eventually creating usable land for development.
The treatment plant will also address DEQ concerns about phosphates and other nutrients being dumped into the Green River after wastewater is treated. The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality is looking to address the issue throughout the state through the placement of stricter limits on phosphates and nitrogen being dumped into waterways. The two materials have been linked to the creation of algae blooms.
The next step for the city is to create bid documents and bid the project out to a developer. According to Westenskow, that could be accomplished by the second half of 2020.