State water board has a busy day: Millions in financial aid approved, including big package for Yankton

By Bob Mercer

State Capitol Bureau

The city of Yankton received approval Friday for a $12,850,000 loan package from the state Board of Water and Natural Resources for a major upgrade to the municipal water system.

Yankton will receive $1 million of loan forgiveness, in essence a grant. That reduces the loan amount to $11,850,000 to be repaid over 20 years at 3 percent interest.

Board members also gave their OK to a $259,000 loan for Gregory to replace part of the existing sewer system. The loan is for 10 years at 2.25 percent interest.

Freeman and Vermillion received recycling grants from the board. Freeman will get $195,000 for expanding its recycling center. Vermillion will see $400,000 to help replace its baler building that burned down.

The Lewis and Clark watershed clean-up project was approved for an additional $200,000 by the board to be used toward further reducing runoff of feedlot waste and other material into area tributaries of the Missouri River reservoir. This is the third phase of a continuing project that to date has invested approximately $7 million from producers and government sources in animal waste-management systems.

Jim Feeney, an administrator for the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said he expects an application in the near future for phase-four funding on what is approaching a 10-year project.

At Yankton, city officials plan to renovate an existing water-treatment plant and construct a new collector well 1.5 miles downstream of the current two treatment plants. The city plans to ask the board at a later date for another loan to replace the other existing treatment plant.

The overall timetable calls for the work to be completed by end of 2016.

“Together with the recently completed wells on the Nebraska side of the river, the city will have the capacity to provide an adequate amount of water to its customers through at least the year 2035,” city manager Amy Nelson said in her application to the board.

The board also placed 12 new projects on its loan-planning lists for improvements in drinking water, wastewater and storm water systems.

They include work planned by Canton, Dell Rapids, Elk Point, Lake Norden, Lead, Miller, North Sioux City, Sioux Rural Water System wells at Castlewood, South Shore, Turton and University Estates Homeowners Association at Brookings.

Those loans would be considered in coming months.

In other action:

  • Waubay will get an additional $75,000 to cover costs that are higher than estimated for its wastewater system. Mayor Kevin Jens said the hope is to complete the project before winter weather sets in;
  • Java officials notified the board they no longer want to accept a loan and grant package for a new water-metering system;
  • Eagle Butte officials asked that their $1.6 million loan be scrapped after receipt of a federal grant and loan package for $2 million;
  • Niche Sanitary District will get an additional $22,000 for connecting with the Black Hawk water users district; and
  • The Powder House Pass community improvement district received approval to change the scope of its project, after an agreement couldn’t be reached for treatment of its wastewater by the Lead-Deadwood sanitary district.

The revised plan calls for deleting the portions that would have been needed to connect to the Lead-Deadwood system and instead construct a wastewater treatment facility.

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