Youngstown council to consider loan for waste plant improvements

Published: Wed, April 18, 2018 @ 12:02 a.m.

By David Skolnick


City council today will consider legislation to borrow up to $43.5 million for improvement work to its wastewater treatment facility as part of a federal consent decree.

Council is being asked to approve three ordinances to authorize the board of control to borrow the money with an interest rate of about 1 percent, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.

The projects would start later this year and be finished by about March 2020, Shasho said.

“This is work that needs to be done as part of our long-term control plan at our wastewater plant” on Poland Avenue, he said.

The loans would be paid back over a 20-year period and funded by sewer rates.

The city agreed in 2014 with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to spend $150 million over 20 years to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, build a new facility near the plant to better control sewage in heavier rainfalls, and construct an interceptor sewer to keep wastewater from flowing into Mill Creek Park. The city is focusing the first few years on the treatment plant improvements.

While the legislation seeks approval to borrow as much as $43.5 million, Shasho said the actual amount needed for the work is for less money.

The largest project is for up to $30 million to construct a pump station that would increase the amount of wastewater treated at the facility from 65 million gallons a day to up to 80 million gallons a day, he said.

“It’s a direct issue with our consent order” to increase the amount, Shasho said.

But the city recently opened proposals for that work and the lowest amount was for about $18 million, he said.

The city hasn’t sought proposals yet for the two other projects.

One is for up to $8.5 million and would construct an ultraviolet ray system to replace liquid chlorine used to disinfect wastewater.

On May 4, 2015, about 500 gallons of liquid chlorine leaked at the Poland Avenue facility that resulted in a city worker being taken to the hospital after he was exposed to it for several minutes.

“The UV system is much safer,” Shasho said.

The other project is for up to $5 million to make electrical improvements to the treatment plant that would include conduits, wires and transformers, Shasho said.

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