HEYBURN — Wastewater treatment and collection upgrade projects are expected to cost taxpayers less than expected because the city is leveraging the wastewater construction bond money with grants.
The grants will save Heyburn taxpayers $3.1 million.
Citizens will only have to pay back a little more than $5.5 million of the $9.6 million total costs, said Lana Duke, loan officer for U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The city will take out a USDA loan for $5,507,000 and the city will chip in $1 million. The remainder of the costs will be paid through grants from the Army Corps of Engineers, USDA, and a Community Development Block Grant, Duke said.
“Without these grants, this project would have been difficult or impossible,” she said.
A $12.4 million bond for the work was approved through judicial confirmation in the fall 2018.
“This is not typical funding that a city would receive,” Duke said. “The timing was really great for these guys to access all of these grants. It will cut down the amount the citizens have to pay back.”
The taxpayers will pay 57% of the costs of the total project with the remainder coming from grants, she said.
Heyburn officials signed a $5.7 million construction contract for the wastewater treatment improvements portion of the project on Tuesday and work will begin mid-December.
The bid for the first phase of work — improvements to the wastewater treatment system — was awarded to GSE Construction.
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Work on the second phase — the city’s wastewater collection system — is still in the final design phase and will be paid for with bond funds, City Administrator Tony Morley said.
Brad Bjerke, engineer and project manager for HDR, said the Environmental Protection Agency expects the treatment facility to be operational by the end of next year.
Under the contract, GSE has 365 days to have substantive work completed with final completion slated at 425 days.
The city chose to use judicial confirmation to approve the bond after the wastewater facility fell out of compliance with the EPA and faced fines that threatened to bankrupt the city.
The wastewater plant was constructed in the 1960s and upgraded in 1991 and 2008. The city’s collection system has 25 miles of pipes and 18 lift stations, not including private lift stations and Burley’s industrial lift station.
The needed work includes installing an ultraviolet disinfectant system, a screw press dewatering system and another clarifier.
The collection system needs work at the lift stations, the construction of another lift station and other structures.
Engineering company Forsgren Associates Inc. is working on the collection system project, Morley said. The collection system work will begin later than the treatment system project and will be completed slightly after the other project.
“I am excited for Heyburn to be moving in the right direction,” Mayor Cleo Gallegos said. “And I have nothing but pride in the direction it is going.”