McALLEN – The city will save more than $30 million in the upgrade of a wastewater plant after qualifying for federal stimulus dollars.
The McAllen Public Utility Board awarded a $37.5 million contract for the improvement of its North Wastewater Treatment Plant on Friday after learning the project qualified for stimulus funding.
The wastewater improvement plan met all the required energy efficiency standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency and will receive the money at no interest over the next 30 years via the Texas Water Development Board.
Based on city estimates, this interest-free funding will save $32 million, Public Utility General Manager Roel Rodriguez said. The city likely would have paid about 5.75 percent interest had they financed the project through a bond sale.
“This is the biggest project in the history of the PUB and it’s been passed with no interest,” Rodriguez said.
The North Wastewater Plant—one of two plants in McAllen—reached 75 percent capacity two years ago, which, by state law, requires the city to begin drawing up plans for the plant’s expansion.
The PUB was close to awarding a contract for the upgrade last year, but held off after learning of stimulus funds could possibly pay for the project.
“It was great timing on our part,” Rodriguez said.
The TWDB awarded the $44.3 million loan Thursday – well in excess of the $37.5 low bid for the project from Houston-based firm CSA Construction.
The EPA required all project proposals to have 20 percent in energy savings, Rodriguez said. The PUB’s proposal for the wastewater plant will have energy savings of 40 percent because of the type of pumps used.
Construction should begin in February and is expected to be completed in two-and-a-half-years.
Once finished, the improved wastewater plant should serve the city for the next 20 years, Rodriguez said.
Nick Pipitone covers McAllen, PSJA, the Mid-Valley and general assignments for The Monitor. He can be reached at (956) 683-4446.