Batavia to get $38M low-interest IEPA loan to rehab Wastewater Treatment Facility

Gary Holm: Most of the work will replace decades-old equipment

BATAVIA – The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency awarded Batavia with a $38 million low-interest loan for the rehabilitation of its Wastewater Treatment Facility, officials announced in a news release.

In all, the IEPA awarded almost $572 million in water infrastructure loans to 60 communities for wastewater, stormwater and drinking water infrastructure projects.

Batavia’s loan also will pay to replace the ultraviolet disinfection system and for installation of sanitary sewers and 14 manholes.

Batavia Public Works Director Gary Holm said the city’s equipment, which dates to 1990 and 2000, is at the end of its useful life.

“We will start construction this September and continue to 2026,” Holm said of the three-year project. “Residents will see work in the area of South Water Street and will continue to see that work in the next year. After the first year, the work will be more isolated to the treatment plant itself.”

The work will involve removing and replacing existing primary clarifiers, which means that when the first flow comes into the system, the primary clarifier allows solids to settle out and it skims off the liquid, Holm said.

The work also involves rehabilitating the final clarifier, which is the near the end of that process.

“The flows go through several processes,” Holm said. “The solids that fall out with the primary clarifier is the first step in creating all the solids for all the different processes.”

The loan will pay for a new rotary drum thickener, which is part of the process of removing liquid and leaving the solids behind.

The result is a natural byproduct, almost like topsoil, Holm said.

The loan also will pay for the addition of six progressive pumps and six submersible pumps, which are part of the process of separating liquids and solids, Holm said.

“Solids and liquids are moving constantly throughout the plant,” Holm said. “Flow is coming in with flushes any time of the day. And we are constantly processing the flows.”

The work also involves demolishing the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry building at 100 Flinn St. and building a new headworks facility there, Holm said.

“We will relocate them to a new facility,” Holm said of the food pantry. “A headworks facility is where flows will first enter the treatment process. It’s the very first building where flows are treated.”

The revolving loan program exists across the country for this type of infrastructure support, Holm said.

Cities get loans, repay them and the program is self-sustaining, Holm said.

Finance Director Peggy Colby said the loan is 1.24% over 20 years.

Pingree Grove, another Kane County municipality, was granted a $51 million loan to build a new wastewater treatment plant that will double the existing daily average flow while improving the treated effluent quality to meet phosphorous limits, according to the release.

The plant expansion is expected to serve the village’s growth for the next 20 years, according to the release.

Gov. JB Pritzker said in the release that, “Clean water is a right – not a privilege.”

“And here in Illinois, we are utilizing every resource at our disposal to ensure our communities have the modernized and safe water infrastructure they deserve,” Pritzker said in the release.

The governor credited his administration’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan, which increased state funding for the IEPA’s low-interest loans through its Water Pollution Control Loan Program and Public Water Supply Loan Program.