More Than $203 Million In Water And Wastewater Construction Loans Awarded

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau Wednesday announced that 11 communities, including Chattanooga and Cleveland, have been approved to receive more than $203 million in low-interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.  The announcement represents the largest amount in State Revolving Fund Loans granted in state history. 

“I am pleased to see local governments using this important program to help address critical drinking water and wastewater needs, making infrastructure improvements that will benefit the health of these communities and economic growth,” Governor Haslam said.

The State Revolving Fund Loan Program provides low-interest loans that help communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities finance projects that protect Tennessee’s ground and surface waters and public health. Loans are used to finance the planning, design and construction of water and wastewater facilities. 

Through the SRF Program, communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities can obtain loans with lower interest rates than most can obtain through private financing. Interest rates for loans can vary from zero percent to market rate based on each community’s economic index. Loans utilizing the 2010 EPA grant funds include more than 20 percent principal forgiveness for water and wastewater projects, 2011 EPA grant funds include 30 percent principal forgiveness for water and 10 percent principal forgiveness for wastewater projects, and 2012 EPA grant funds include 20 percent principal forgiveness for water and wastewater projects.

“The State Revolving Fund Loan Program is a community investment to help maintain environmental and public health, while keeping local communities moving forward as they prepare for future needs,” Commissioner Martineau said. 

The Department of Environment and Conservation administers the SRF Loan Program for the state of Tennessee in conjunction with the Tennessee Local Development Authority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides grants to fund the program, and the state provides a 20 percent match. Loan repayments are returned to the program and are used to fund future SRF loans. 

The funding order of projects is determined by the SRF Loan Program’s Priority Ranking Lists that rank potential projects according to the severity of their pollution and/or compliance problems or for the protection of public health.

Wastewater loans were announced today for the following recipients: 

City of Cleveland (Bradley County) – The city of Cleveland will receive $1.82 million for a project that includes sewer system rehabilitation.  The project will be funded with a 20-year, $1.38 million loan with an interest rate of 1.15 percent and $451,022 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority (Hamilton County) – The Hamilton County WWTA will receive $4 million for a green project that includes sewer system rehabilitation. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $3.6 million loan with an interest rate of 1.10 percent and $400,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.      

City of Oak Ridge (Anderson and Roane Counties) – The city of Oak Ridge will receive $4 million for a project that includes sewer system rehabilitation and the construction of three equalization basins. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $3.6 million loan with an interest rate of 1.15 percent and $400,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

City of White House (Robertson and Sumner Counties) – The city of White House will receive $2 million for a green project that includes wastewater treatment improvements.  The project will be funded with a 20-year, $1.6 million loan with an interest rate of 0.75 percent and $400,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

Drinking water loans were announced today for the following recipients:

Big Creek Utility District (Grundy, Sequatchie and Marion Counties) – Big Creek Utility District will receive $2.42 million for a project that includes a new 1 million-gallon capacity water storage tank, replacing three tanks; and for the replacement of water lines. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $1.93 million loan with an interest rate of 0 percent and $484,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid. 

Cumberland Utility District (Roane and Morgan Counties) – Cumberland Utility District will receive $2.5 million for a green project that includes water line replacement in the Woods Chapel and Coalfield communities. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $1.75 million loan with an interest rate of 0 percent and $750,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

City of Elizabethton (Carter County) – The city of Elizabethton will receive $0.65 million for a green project that includes a water-loss reduction program and replacement of water lines in the Eastside community. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $455,000 loan with an interest rate of 0.77 percent and $195,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid. 

Minor Hill Utility District (Giles County) – The Minor Hill Utility District will receive $1.1 million for a green project that includes water line replacement along Bethel Road and Minor Hill Highway. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $880,000 loan with an interest rate of 0.56 percent and $220,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

Traditional wastewater loans were announced today for the following recipients: 

City of Chattanooga (Hamilton County) – The city of Chattanooga will receive a $33.1 million, 20-year loan with an interest rate of 1.15 percent for a project that includes wastewater treatment plant improvements and collection system rehabilitation in the East Brainerd Sewer Basin.  

City of Cleveland (Bradley County) – The city of Cleveland will also receive an $8.17 million, 20-year loan with an interest rate of 1.15 percent for a project that includes sewer system rehabilitation in the Wildwood Avenue and 9th Street Drainage Basin area.  

City of Memphis (Shelby County) – The city of Memphis will receive a $22 Million, 20-year loan with an interest rate of 0.75 percent for a project that includes waste water treatment improvements to Lagoon No. 5 at the T.E. Maxson Wastewater Treatment Plant and modifications to the outfall structure at the M.C. Stiles Wastewater Treatment Plant. 

City of Memphis (Shelby County) – The city of Memphis will also receive a $100 Million, 20-year loan with an interest rate of 0.75 percent for a project that includes sewer system rehabilitation.

City of Morristown (Jefferson and Hamblen Counties) – The city of Morristown will receive a $5 Million, 20-year loan with an interest rate of 1.51 percent for a project that includes wastewater treatment plant improvements.

City of Oak Ridge (Anderson and Roane Counties) – The city of Oak Ridge will receive a $14 Million, 20-year loan with an interest rate of 1.15 percent for a project that includes sewer system rehabilitation and construction of three equalization basins. 

A traditional drinking water loan was announced today for the following recipient:

Cumberland Utility District (Roane and Morgan Counties) – Cumberland Utility District will also receive a $3 million, 20-year loan with an interest rate of 0 percent for a project that includes waterline replacements in the Woods Chapel and Coalfield communities.  

Since its inception in 1987, Tennessee’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded nearly $1.5 billion in low-interest loans. Since its inception in 1996, Tennessee’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $216 million in low-interest loans. Both programs combined award more than $80 million annually to Tennessee’s local governments for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.

Any local government interested in the SRF Loan Program should contact the State Revolving Fund Loan Program, L&C Tower, 8th Floor, 401 Church Street, Nashville, TN 37243, or call 615.532-0445. Additional information about the SRF Loan Program may be found online at www.tn.gov/environment/srf.


Tennessee's Unemployment Rate For August Increased To 7.4%

Tennessee Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced the Tennessee preliminary unemployment rate for August was 7.4 percent, three tenths of one percentage point higher than the 7.1 July revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for August was 6.1 percent, down from 6.2 percent in July. Economic Summary • Over the past year, Tennessee's unemployment ... (click for more)

Tennessee American Water Announces Fall Drug-Take Back Day In Hamilton County

In partnership with several organizations, Tennessee American Water announces the fall  2014 Drug Take-Back event on Saturday, Sept. 27 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m.  "The purpose of this event is to keep drugs out of the environment and off of our streets," officials said.  Local residents are encouraged to simply drive up and drop off their unused, unwanted or expired medications ... (click for more)

EPB Officials Huddle With Attorneys Over City Street Lighting Issue

EPB board members huddled with attorneys on the issue of billing for city street lights on Friday morning. EPB Chairman Joe Ferguson asked for the private session with attorneys Rick Hitchcock and Tom Greenholtz of Chambliss Bahner. Don Lepard, owner of Global Green Lighting, earlier filed a $10 million "whistle blower" lawsuit, claiming overbilling by EPB on street lighting. ... (click for more)

City Council Taking Applications From Those Interested In Serving On City IDB

The City Council is taking applications from those interested in serving on the city industrial Development Board (IDB).   There are four vacancies on the board that has been in the news for its controversial approval and re-approval of $9 million in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for developers of Aetna Mountain. Resumes are due by Sept. 29.   ... (click for more)

Walking Among Memories, The USS LST-325

I have walked among the head stones at Flanders Fields and have seen the entrenchment of soldiers with only bayonet tips sticking out of the earth. Later I traveled to Normandy where I stood on the sand and made scuff marks with my shoes on Omaha Beach and climbed the hill to the magnificent American Cemetery there. I again walked among the many, many tomb stones so neatly and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Troubling Jameis Winston

One of the greatest things about the American legal system is that each and every crime is judged on its own merits. Just because Arizona Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer and Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy were each arrested for domestic abuse earlier this week, each National Football League football hero will be given an independent hearing and trial, if need be, ... (click for more)