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City to save money on plant upgrade

City of Sunnyside Engineer Jim Bridges had some good news for local residents this past Monday.

Bridges learned on Monday that the city had been granted what is referred to as a categorical exclusion for improvements to the wastewater treatment plant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"We have been excluded from any additional environmental requirements," said Bridges.

This basically translates into the city saving $100,000 on the estimated $11 million wastewater treatment plant facility upgrade.

Bridges said to receive the exclusion the city had to apply to EPA. Part of the process in applying for the exception was Bridges had to contact a variety of different agencies telling of the city's plans for improvements to the wastewater facility. Bridges made contact with such agencies as the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Yakama Indian Nation and EPA and received no comment back. Another major reason for the exclusion was that the work that is being performed is being done inside of the area where the wastewater treatment plant is located. Bridges said the city will be making no changes to the nearby drainage ditch, just to the outside of the wastewater treatment plant.

Bridges said the designation is significant because it not only means the city saves money that can be used elsewhere, it also means less paperwork.

The city was unsuccessful in obtaining construction funds for the plant upgrade from the Department of Ecology's State Revolving Fund. Bridges said the city is trying to obtain a 100 percent match for construction. Bridges plans to apply again for the ecology loan and then for funds from the state's Public Works Trust Fund.

. Mike Kantman can be contacted at (509) 837-4500, or email him at mkantman@eaglenewspapers.com

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