Zero interest? City could receive funds for water, wastewater projects

Published 7:24 pm Saturday, February 21, 2015

Washington could be in the running for interest-free or low-interest loans for water and sewer rehabilitation projects.

Allen Lewis, the city’s director of public works, attended a Feb. 9 meeting concerning the Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The meeting was conducted at the local office of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

CWSRF monies may be used for eligible water and/or wastewater projects. The fund will make at least $65 million available this funding cycle. March 31 is the deadline to apply for part of that funding, according to a memorandum Lewis sent to other city officials.

Lewis wants the City Council’s permission for the city to apply for up to $2 million. The council is scheduled to consider that request during its meeting Monday.

Loans for rehabilitation-type projects could be interest free, Lewis explained in the memorandum. If the city receives $2 million interest-free, that money would be paid back at $100,000 a year for 20 years, according to the memorandum.

Even if the city does not qualify for the zero-percent interest rate, the maximum percentage rate would be about 1.7 percent, or an annual payment of about $115,000 a year for 20 years, Lewis wrote in the memorandum.

“Staff feels like we could be successful in applying for work to reduce inflow and infiltration (I/I) in some of our older gravity sewer lines,” Lewis wrote.

Inflow and infiltration is when water from outside sources (mostly groundwater) enters sewer lines through cracks, holes and faulty joints. I&I adds to wastewater-treatment costs because it increases the amount of wastewater to be treated.

Last year, the city received a $35,000 grant to pay for an I&I study to determine where outside water enters the sewer system. That study used visual inspection and smoke tests to locate possible I&I sites in the sewer system.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.







About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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