Lander City Council.

(Lander, Wyo.) – Yesterday the City of Lander got the word that funding for both phase 2 wastewater treatment upgrades and an infiltration and inflow reduction project project have been approved for nearly $5 million in loans, some of which might be forgiven.

In early 2012, the city adjusted water and sewer rates so it could pay back $750,000 of a $1.5 million loan/grant combination for the first phase of the needed upgrades. Dowl HKM’s Diane Oress said at a prior meeting that earlier this year, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality informed the city that it couldn’t move forward with implementation of phase 1 without funding for phase 2. The state has also urged the city to pursue infiltration and inflow problems in sewer lines. All together, the projects are to cost roughly $6.6 million.

Community Resource Coordinator Gary Michuad, Councilman Dick Hudson, Oress and Public Works Director Mickey Simmons went to Cheyenne yesterday to meet with the Clean Water State Revolving Fund board about the requests. Michaud said the meeting went well and board approved the funds.

For phase 2, $2.862 million in loans was approved. For the infiltration reduction project, $2.054 million in loans was approved. Michaud said both would have a 20-year payback period at 2. 5 percent. For each loan, $357,040 has been recommended to be forgiven, meaning it will not have to be repaid. Michaud said at this time the principal forgiveness is not guaranteed.

The treatment of water at the facility now is not meeting DEQ requirements for ammonia and other compounds before it gets released into the Middle Fork of the Popo Agie River. Additionally, in part due to inflow and infiltration, the city’s water treatment facility treats 227 gallons of water per person per day in Lander enters the sewer system. The EPA considers the per capita number excessive if its more than 120 gallons per day.

Water and sewer rate increases finalized earlier this month and to go into effect on Dec. 31 are to help pay back these loans.