Sewer loan announced

Published 4:21 pm Thursday, July 14, 2005

By Staff
WASHINGTON, DC - Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) announced Tuesday that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has awarded Cass County a loan of $2.7 million and a grant of $1 million under the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program.
The Edwardsburg Village Council voted to accept on June 20 an available $1 million U.S. Department of Agriculture grant and a $2.7 million federal loan to construct a waste water treatment system in the village to hook up with the Ontwa Township sewer system.
The total amount of the system is estimated at $3.7 million. At an interest rate of 4.25 percent, property owners will pay for the project through individual assessments.
At an estimated assessment of $3,800 per user, there will be a $10 per foot frontage cost.
Officials at Wightman and Associates, Inc., engineers from Benton Harbor, estimate it would cost including interest over 40 years about $8,000 per household. However, property owners may pay off their assessment early without a penalty.
Construction is planned to start in the spring of 2006 with completion by fall.
This funding will be used to assist rural residents by upgrading the current wastewater treatment system. The project will increase the reliability of the local wastewater system and improve water quality to meet Michigan Department of Environmental Quality standards.
"This is terrific news for the folks of Cass County," said Upton. "This and other Rural Development programs provide much-needed assistance to our rural communities. Access to clean water is one of life's basic necessities and this funding will ensure that 375 folks in Cass County will have a new, wastewater collection system. The USDA loan will go a long way in directly eliminating a significant source of ground and surface water contamination and the related health hazards that go along with it."
Specifically, the funding will be used to construct 25,100 feet of 8-inch gravity collection sewer lines, 3,000 feet of force main, 2 lift stations and a grinder pump station. The system will be an extension of the existing Ontwa sewer system and both systems will be operated jointly with treatment provided by the City of Elkhart.
"We greatly appreciate Congressman Upton's strong support of Cass County," said Terry Proctor, County Administrator. "I am pleased to report that with these funds we will soon be able to construct a new sewer system in the Village of Edwardsburg."