Gray & Osborne engineers outlined ways for Coulee Dam and Elmer City to get their monthly sewer rates down in a letter to Coulee Dam Mayor Quincy Snow that was distributed after last Wednesday’s city council meeting.
Coulee Dam residents currently pay $59 a month for sewer service and Elmer City pays $35 a month. Both towns will need to up their rates to pay a $4.92 million wastewater treatment plant loan.
Engineer Jeff Stevens, in his letter, outlined a plan where the town of Coulee Dam would change its current funding source from the Department of Ecology to USDA Rural Development which currently offers a 2.5-percent loan over a 40 years, rather than for 20 years.
If the town went this route, it could reduce the rate increase necessary from $33 a month to $17 a month.
If the town was successful, Stevens wrote, in getting into a funding relationship with the Colville Tribes through an Indian Health Service grant, the rates could be further reduced.
Stevens also noted that work with the Bureau of Reclamation to get them to stop its wastewater treatment plant in the Third Powerhouse and connect to Coulee Dam’s plant could also provide benefits.
Then Stevens outlined a list of grant possibilities that could and would further reduce the monthly costs to households of the two towns.
Currently, the design work for the project is on hold as the town seeks funds for a “value engineering” study.