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Governor Bullock Announces Infrastructure Investment to Modernize Wastewater System

Investment will improve water quality, protect public health and safety, and create jobs

Wednesday, July 12, 2017/Categories: Governor's Office/Tags:

Governor Steve Bullock today announced that the city of Polson has been approved for two State Revolving Fund (SRF) loans totaling $14.6 million to modernize its wastewater treatment system and improve water quality, protect public health and safety, and create jobs.

“Modern infrastructure is vital to our economy and to the livelihood of our communities,” Bullock said. “This investment will protect the health and well-being of our citizens, increase access to and quality of the water, and better prepare the community for new growth and development, all while creating good-paying jobs for Montanans.”

“Investments like these allow communities to save money and ensure that water quality and wastewater standards are being met,” said John Tubbs, Director of the Montana Department of Natural Resources. “It is great to be a strong partner in this much-needed, locally-driven effort.”

The SRF loan program administered by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) enables Montana communities to upgrade or expand critical drinking or wastewater treatment facilities at the lowest possible cost.

Polson’s original wastewater treatment system was constructed in 1981, with the last major improvements made in 2001. Over the next several years, City Manager Mark Shrives said the city had ongoing difficulties meeting water quality standards.

“We were unable to consistently treat wastewater in accord with the city’s discharge permit,” Shrives said. “Our treatment infrastructure was aging and outdated, and we discharge into the Flathead River, which as a high-use recreation area has more stringent standards for water quality.”

The city received several grants to assist with the cost of an engineering and design study for a new treatment system, including a $750,000 Treasure State Endowment Program (TSEP) grant and a $125,000 Renewable Resource Grant.

Through the SRF program, the city was approved for a $14.2 million loan at 2.5 percent interest for 30 years, along with a second loan for $400,000 at 2.5 percent for 30 years that will be forgiven if certain conditions are met.

The new treatment system will employ up-to-date technology to meet current and anticipated water quality regulations, protecting public health and safety, as well as water quality in the Flathead River system. DOWL of Bozeman is serving as the project’s engineering firm and Swank Enterprises of Kalispell is the project contractor.

“Construction got underway in mid-April and it’s been going pretty smoothly,” Shrives said. “We’re currently doing some of the large concrete pours for the new holding basins.”

The project is expected to be completed by October of 2018.

For more information on the SRF program, contact Anna Miller of DNRC at (406) 444-6689, or visit the Montana DNRC Web site at http://dnrc.mt.gov/.

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