Chino Valley gets $750,000 loan for wastewater plant

CHINO VALLEY – The Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA) has approved a $750,000 loan to Chino Valley for design and engineering plans for the town's new wastewater treatment system.

Chino Valley plans to build a 500,000-gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant, expandable to 5 million gallons per day, along with related collection and recharge systems. Both the wastewater treatment plant and the effluent recharge system will be on Old Home Manor, an 800-acre parcel east of Highway 89 that the town already owns.

Community Development Director Stu Spaulding has been working with locally owned Copeland Geotechnical Consultants since March to complete the master design concept for the sewer collection system. The company is starting the preliminary design this week, which includes engineering plans for the major 27-inch sewer line that will connect the plant to individual yard lines.

Spaulding expects to complete the design in about six months and hopes to build the wastewater treatment plant in about two years.

The town also has hired Rick Giardina of RD&A in Denver, Colo., to do a water and sewer rate study. His report will include a financial plan to repay the debt that the town will assume building its new wastewater treatment plant and water company. The town also will locate its new water company at Old Home Manor.

Giardina explained preliminary study results recently to Town Council members. The plan is for new home sewer hook-up fees to repay loans and pay for hook-up construction. Chino Valley hopes to use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) money to pay hook-up fees for qualifying existing homes in the Chino Meadows area. The town will require new developments to connect to the municipal wastewater system.

The council will set sewer and water rates when they receive Giardina's final report.

Growth in Chino Valley, septic systems on smaller-sized lots, and potential pollution of the Little Chino aquifer, which provides drinking water to both Chino Valley and the City of Prescott, have prompted town officials to protect the aquifer by building the new sewer system. A recent study recommended abandoning existing leach fields on smaller lots and building a sewer system. The town expects local, WIFA, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loans and grants to pay for the construction.

The town estimates total project at $16.7 million, including $4 million for the cost of 80 acres of land at Old Home Manor. WIFA's share will be $7,970,000 (including the $750,000 design phase) and the USDA's portion will be $3 million. The balance of approximately $5 million will come from local sources.

Chino Valley plans to conduct a bond election in March to obtain voter approval for sewer project indebtedness once the design is complete. Access to WIFA low-interest financial help requires voter approval.

Contact Dorine Goss at dgoss@prescottaz.com.

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