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Coulee Dam's wastewater treatment facility moves ahead


Coulee Dam’s new wastewater treatment facility got big push ahead last week as the town council approved interim financing to get the project started, then approved the bid to build it for more than expected, but with more cost-saving features.

The council awarded the construction bid Wednesday to McClure and Sons Construction of Spokane, which bid $5,609,399.07.

That award was contingent on the approval of supplemental funding from the US Dept. of Agriculture for extra work engineers deemed prudent to lower long-term operating costs.

The total financing package of $7.924 million will include a $1.53 million grant, $6.194 million in a loan and $200,000 the town has already spent over the course of several years of development to this point.

Engineers recommended adding sludge handing features to the plant that will lower operating costs for decades.

“We’re paying more up front for a new facility,” Mayor Greg Wilder, “but when you look at the big picture over the life of the project, we save a considerable amount of money by spending the extra money now.”

The project will push rates in Coulee Dam to about $67 per equivalent dwelling units (EDU). That’s about $8 more than an earlier financing package without the upgrades approved last week.

A USDA representative noted that income from a current agreement with Elmer City “creates an income that affords the loan.” Elmer City is currently considering whether to build its own treatment plant.

The package does not include a new lift station for the west side of Coulee Dam, which will be an additional cost.

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