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Port of Sunnyside approved for wastewater upgrade funding

The Port of Sunnyside has been approved for $500,000 in SIED funding for a dewatering system at its industrial wastewater treatment plant.

Port Executive Director Amber Hansen informed commissioners of the approval at last night's regularly scheduled meeting, Monday.

But it didn't go off without a hitch.

When Hansen met with the SIED board on Oct. 16 and the application was approved, there was some resistance.

Hansen told commissioners in a memo that the resistance stemmed from the question as to whether or not upgrades to a wastewater treatment plant really tie into job retention in a community.

The SIED board expressed concern to port officials at the meeting that all cities have wastewater treatment plants and not enough SIED funding is available to fund normal upgrades as required by ecology officials.

Hansen countered that the city's wastewater treatment plant handles both industrial and domestic waste and the city's system could not handle the waste from industrial users of the port's plant.

"...Therefore jobs could go away, so it is job retention," she said.

Hansen said in her memo to commissioners, "I also pointed out that we are not allowed to access public works trust funds or DOE money that the city systems have clear access to."

Of the $500,000 in SIED funding, half is a grant and half is a loan.

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