State agency lists Willmar for wastewater treatment grants
WILLMAR -- Willmar is in line to receive two state grants totaling $3.7 million to assist in constructing the city's wastewater treatment plant. The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority notified city officials this week that Willmar is eligible ...
WILLMAR -- Willmar is in line to receive two state grants totaling $3.7 million to assist in constructing the city's wastewater treatment plant.
The Minnesota Public Facilities Authority notified city officials this week that Willmar is eligible to receive a $500,000 grant to reduce or eliminate phosphorus in its wastewater.
Also, the Public Facilities Authority informed the city that it is eligible to receive a $3,205,975 grant to comply with total maximum daily load requirements.
City Administrator Michael Schmit said the money will be used at the city's discretion to pay for any eligible cost associated with phosphorus treatment and to comply with total maximum daily load requirements.
Sewer plant consultants and the city have budgeted $20 million in state grants toward the estimated $80 million cost. The design phase is underway, leading to construction and opening of the new treatment plant west of the city by 2010.
Schmit said the city is pushing hard to find some federal dollars for the project.
"But we've made a serious dent in our goal of achieving $20 million in grants,'' he said Thursday.
The $500,000 phosphorus reduction grant is being made available under the 2006 Minnesota Clean Water Legacy Phosphorus Reduction program.
The intent is to treat or eliminate phosphorus in the wastewater, Schmit said. He said the city would be mandated to comply with the program at the existing plant.
According to environmental protection agencies, nutrient levels in surface water often restrict the growth of aquatic plant species.
In freshwater such as lakes and streams, phosphorus is typically the nutrient that limits growth, though occasionally nitrogen is the most limiting nutrient.
Potassium is not a limiting element in water, so water quality concerns focus on nitrogen and phosphorus.
The larger grant is earmarked under the Total Maximum Daily Load program, which determines the greatest amount of a given pollutant that a water body can receive without violating water quality standards and designated uses. The program sets pollution reduction goals that are necessary to improve the quality of impaired waters, according to pollution control agencies.
"This is exciting for us and it should be for everybody because every dollar we can get from outside sources is going to reduce the local share and subsequently lower our rates,'' Schmit said.