STERLING – Sterling’s wastewater treatment plant, now about 40 years old, is nearing the end of its usefulness and must be replaced.
This comes as no surprise to city officials, who have been saving up for this eventuality for about 15 years now.
Because of that planning, and available low- or no-interest Illinois Environmental Protection Agency loans, the new plant likely will not result in a rate hike for residents, Sterling Mayor Skip Lee said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
Council members Tuesday hired engineering firm Willlett Hofmann & Associates – which built the wastewater plant in the first place – to study the matter and come up with recommendations, including three possible sites, although the plant could remain at or near the current site in the 2400 block of West Lynn Boulevard.
The firm has 5 months to complete the facility plan, which also is to include, among other things, the plant design, a possible new rate structure and completion of the IEPA planning documents.
The cost of the plan is not to exceed $49,200, which will be paid for out of the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant Fund. Having such a plan in place is required for the city to be eligible for the state construction loans.
If the city uses the IEPA Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Loan, it would qualify for 30% principal forgiveness, a loan at 1% interest, and a term of up to 30 years, Willett Hofmann said in its proposal.
Changes in EPA regulations are helping driving the need for a new facility. The current plant cannot reduce phosphorous to levels now required by EPA regulations.