Kingston sewer funds get pumping

KINGSTON — The final step has been taken toward a more efficient sewage treatment plant for Kingston residents.

The Washington State Department of Ecology has given final approval for a $14.2 million loan to Kitsap County that will be used to build a new wastewater treatment plant on Norman Road.

The current treatment plant near downtown Kingston is past its 20-year expiration date, said Rick Gagnon, senior program manager for the wastewater division of Kitsap County Public Works.

Evaluations of the current system from DOE labeled it “obsolete” and “decrepit.”

The proposal for the new plant and outfall project ranked eighth out of 119 statewide proposals for funding from the Washington State Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Program, which is part of the DOE.

The program provides loans for projects that improve water pollution control facilities and sewage plants. Loans will be distributed in the 2004 fiscal year.

This loan amount is the most that Kitsap County had ever sought and received in full for such a project, Gagnon said. The county now has until Aug. 16, 2004 to sign a contract for the financing.

The loan will be repaid during a 20-year period at a 1.5 percent interest rate.

Kathleen Byrne-Barrantes, the grant writer for the proposal, said the low 1.5 percent rate is excellent, compared to the traditional 5 or 6 percent on conventional loans.

With the low rate, Bryne-Barrantes said the county can take the money saved and actually collect interest on it to pay back a portion of the loan. Savings to customers will be more than $6 million, she added.

“It’s able to save our customers a lot of money,” Gagnon said.

The county also applied for an additional $6 million this year from the Public Works Trust Fund, just in case the Ecology funding didn’t come through. Byrne-Barrantes said the county will withdraw its application for the money, freeing it up for other county projects in the future.

The project has a price tag of $18.2 million. The remaining $4 million will be covered by Washington State Ferries for a damaged outfall pipe and funding acquired from Kitsap County’s Public Works Trust Fund last year.

Work at the Norman Road site has already begun, Gagnon said.

Seton Construction has been contracted by the county to build the access road and prep the site for construction.

Gagnon said he expects Seton to be done in October and construction of the treatment plant to start this fall. Gagnon said the lowest bid for the construction of the plant came from local company Stan Palmer Construction. Bidding for replacement of the outfall pipe will take place next year.

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