$40 million bond package would fund wastewater projects in Missouri city

January 31, 2024

An upcoming $40 million bond measure in the Missouri city of Ashland would improve the city’s waterworks and sewage system. The projects will increase the system’s capacity and reduce the amount of stormwater that enters and negatively affects the treatment process. Residents will vote to approve the bond Feb. 6.

Approval would allow the city to complete a series of projects using the Missouri Department of Natural Resources State Revolving Fund (SRF). The SRF funds a wide range of projects that address the state’s highest priority needs to protect public health, the environment and meet environmental standards. Applications to the SRF are due annually on March 1.

Failure to meet that deadline would likely delay improvements by a year and “further risk needing to implement a moratorium on building permits if treatment issues due to higher than design capacity flows arise,” according to a December 2023 presentation.

Voter approval would set a series of investments in motion, including $14.8 million to improve the city’s wastewater treatment facility. Those plans call for $9.5 million to expand its treatment capacity, $2.6 million to expand the facility’s headworks and $1.9 million for UV disinfection and post-aeration. The projects constitute Phase 1 of the city’s plans to improve the facility over the next three to five years.

The funds would also support $4.5 million to repair the city’s wastewater collection system and support regionalization projects. Regionalization projects typically consolidate multiple areas into a regional service facility.

Plans also call for investing $2.6 million to reduce infiltration and inflow, which is the process of excess groundwater or stormwater flowing into sanitary sewer pipes. If left unchecked, infiltration and inflow can result in sewer system overflows.

The projects would move forward even if the measure doesn’t pass, city officials said. The improvements are required to meet demand and address long-term capacity needs. In that scenario, Ashland would hike sewer rates over a short time period to finance the project. The city 136 miles west of St. Louis would complete the projects using alternate financing options that would include higher interest rates between 5% and 6%.

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Photo courtesy of the city of Ashland

Paul Stinson

Paul Stinson has more than 15 years of journalism experience, including a decade covering the legislative and regulatory affairs of Texas, South Africa, and Germany for an affiliate of Bloomberg, L.P. His experience includes covering voting rights and the sectors of environment, energy, labor, healthcare, and taxes. Stinson joined the team in October as a reporter for SPI’s news publications, which include Government Contracting Pipeline, Texas Government Insider, and the newly-launched Government Market News. He is also a Fulbright Scholar to Germany, and an Arthur F. Burns Fellow. He holds a master’s in journalism from Indiana University.   

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