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District seeking loan for aeration system

Published: Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 5:30 a.m. CST

BLACKBERRY TOWNSHIP – The Mill Creek Water Reclamation District is seeking a $418,460 low-interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to replace the aeration system in two treatment lagoons.

The district seeks to install fine bubble diffusers, which are more efficient and keep maintenance and replacement costs the same, but can lower operation costs, according to a notice from the IEPA.

The district’s current aeration process accounts for half of the process’s energy costs, according to the IEPA. The reclamation district serves about 6,600 residents in Blackberry Township and some in Geneva Township.

The loan’s interest rate would be 1.995 percent over 20 years, according to the IEPA.

Jason Fowler, district engineer, said the project was proposed years ago and recently moved forward through the state’s planning process.

“It’s just going through the beginning stages,” Fowler said.

The district will have to schedule a 10-day comment period and make its documents available for inspection, Fowler said. Information will be posted on the district’s website, www.millcreekwrd.com.

“The public can comment directly to the district or to the IEPA,” Fowler said. “We just got the notice and have not scheduled it [the comment period] yet.”

According to information the district provided to the state agency, it would not need a rate increase to pay off the loan. The average residential user at Mill Creek who uses 10,500 gallons per month has a combined water and sewer bill of $85.95.

Once the district forwards its public comment information to the agency, it will complete the rest of its loan application for the process to continue, said Chris Nifong, project manager at the IEPA.

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