Granite City’s bond refinancing will include about $2 million more in funds for renovations at the wastewater plant.
The Granite City wastewater treatment plant is designed for a maximum flow of 34.5 million gallons before going to the storage tanks, but at high-water times like this past weekend, as much as 200 million gallons may flow through the system. The plant currently has two aeration tanks for treating water, but the third is not operational, according to plant superintendent Jeff Hamilton.
“It needs new lines and structural repairs,” Hamilton said. “The EPA recently did an inspection and stated we will need that tank to bring in more water.”
The EPA requires that the tank be brought on line in order to maintain permitting, according to Mayor Ed Hagnauer. “There are simply upgrades we have to do over the years,” Hagnauer said.
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A more extensive upgrade took place a couple of years ago, and there are about $2.9 million in outstanding bond debt from that project. As the city is refinancing other bonds, they will refinance that bond at $5 million, and use the extra funds to upgrade the plant, Hagnauer said.
Two other sets of bonds will be refinanced, which is expected to save the city about $1.5 million in interest. Those bonds involved some of the city’s assistance to U.S. Steel for its new coke plant. “When we financed those bonds it was right after the recession and the rates were higher,” Hagnauer said. “It allows us to save a lot more money.”
However, the recent $11 million upgrade to the sewer system paid off during the flooding this month, Hagnauer said. “We’ve been lucky,” he said. “On Friday there were some bad areas; 20th Street was four feet underwater in a few places, and we had problems on Maryville Road and Ohio Road.”
But Hagnauer said it could have been much worse, and he believes the new system helped lessen the impact of the water flowing through Granite City last weekend.
The Granite City plant is operated by the city, but controlled through a regional board that also includes the Metro-East Sanitary District, Madison County Special Sewer District No. 1 and the village of Glen Carbon. All told, it services about 100,000 customers. Of that amount, about 55 percent consists of Granite City residents, with other districts billed according to usage.
Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618-239-2507.