Washington State USDA Rural Development was pleased to join community leaders from the City of Shelton on January 6 at the official ground breaking ceremony marking the start of crucial upgrades to the City’s aging wastewater treatment plant.
Built in 1979, the current plant has operated effectively 10 years beyond its 20-year life span providing the required wastewater treatment for city and area residents, but city engineers have been challenged to maintain a level of treated wastewater that protects the public, water quality, and natural resources in Hammersley Inlet and Oakland Bay located in the southern part of Washington State’s Puget Sound.
In 2006, an $8.7 million loan/grant combination through the Water and Environmental Program was obligated on Earth Day to help cover the cost of crucial upgrades to the city’s wastewater treatment plant as part of an overall regional water and wastewater system expansion.
With an estimated cost for the necessary improvements at $42 million, the availability of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding in 2009 made it possible for the City to request an additional $28 million in loan and grant in September to expedite the construction and completion of the project, which will help improve the City’s wastewater treatment capacity so that the community can maintain a clean and healthy environment for residents and one of the most important commercial shellfish areas in the country.
Additional funding was provided by the Washington State Department of Corrections and the Washington State Patrol ($1.2 million).
“This is a great and a significant project,” said Peter McMillin, Community Programs Director for the Washington State Office who presented City of Shelton Mayor John Tarrant with a Letter of Appreciation for taking advantage of the ARRA funding. ” This project hits all the right notes – good preparation, thorough understanding of project, solid timelines, leveraged with ARRA funding, and great partnership work.
“These upgrades will serve the community well, address health and safety issues (RD mission/strategy) and builds environmental safeguards for the future,” he added.
Also attending the ceremony was Sarah Crumb, representing Congressman Norm Dicks, 6th Congressional District; representatives from the City of Shelton, Washington State Department of Ecology, and representatives from the shellfish industry.
Photo and story by Phil Eggman, Public Information Officer, Washington State Office