By Will McClure
The City of Stamford received a financial boost from the Texas Water Development Board last Thursday as the board awarded nearly $20 million to Stamford to help improve the water system and, as a result, will allow the city to "start fresh." The application process lasted over a year with multiple trips to Austin to meet with the board as well as teams from Stamford and the board that would meet and determine legal, financial and engineering issues and adaptations. It was not until last Thursday when everything was worked through, and it was found that Stamford qualified for the financial assistance, leading to the awarding of the grant, which was picked up by City Manager Alan Plumlee on behalf of the city and has now led to the planning process for the future of Stamford's water system.
The grant consists of a $9.5 million loan that the city must pay back over a 30 year note along with $10.5 million in loan forgiveness from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Plumlee said that plans for the money will be used to improve the water system to the point where the city will be "starting all over again" from how the water is taken from the lake all the way to the consumers' homes.
"[The money] is going to be used to build a new raw water line to the lake, new pumps at the pump station, which helped get us the forgiveness because it is considered what they call 'green money' because we are going to be energy efficient," Plumlee said. "Then we are going to build a new water treatment plant and new overhead storage, or water tower. Then at the end of the project we're going to do some work on the distribution system."
Plumlee stated that action is still a long way off because the city needs to sell bonds and certificates, which is expected to be completed in the next two months. After that is completed, designs would still need to be drawn by the engineers before construction can begin. Plumlee went on to say that the treatment plant and water line had been in operation for nearly 63 years, with both being constructed in 1953. The money received will help retire the long-running system and bring new improvements in moving the water.
"What we're basically doing is getting an all new water system from the lake to the street. Something that people have been talking about for years. Now we're going to be able to start all over again," Plumlee said.
Plumlee stated that he will be arranging meetings as plans move along to help inform the public of the ongoing plans and would be briefing the City Council during their meeting on Monday evening. While a timeline is not completely set at this time, residents can be assured that the improvements will be a big help in reducing the number of issues and increasing the quality of the water that is delivered to their homes.
The Texas Water Development Board is charged with collecting and discriminating water-related data as well as providing financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control and agricultural water conservation projects