State loans fund water, sewer work in county

Projects in Ridgefield, Camas will benefit

By Stephanie Rice, Columbian Vancouver city government reporter

Published:

 

Clark Regional Wastewater District was among recipients named last week of low-interest construction loans from the Washington State Public Works Board.

A list of projects was released after the 2012 supplemental capital budget was signed April 23 by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

The district received a $10 million loan, at 1 percent interest, for the Discovery Corridor wastewater transmission system.

The long-awaited project will be the first step in extending sewer to Ridgefield, cited by the Columbia River Economic Development Council as key for accommodating new development.

The first phase will cost $23.5 million, said Robin Krause, capital program engineer for the wastewater district.

Last year, the city of Ridgefield received a $10 million loan from the Public Works Board for the project.

How to fund the $3.5 million balance, Krause said, will be decided by a new regional partnership among the county, the wastewater district and the cities of Ridgefield and Battle Ground that has a working title of Clark Clean Water Alliance.

The new entity won’t be operational until 2014, the year construction will start on the Discovery Corridor sewer line.

In all, the board approved nearly $153 million for 58 public infrastructure projects.

Stan Finkelstein, chairman of the board, said the projects will benefit 46 communities, create more than 1,600 jobs and improve drinking water, stormwater and solid waste systems.

Camas received two loans -- $3.74 million for a sewer transmission main and $2 million for a new drinking-water reservoir.

“Local infrastructure investments, such as these by the Public Works Board, protect the safety of our citizens, create needed jobs and lay the foundation for our future prosperity,” wrote Camas City Administrator Lloyd Halverson.

Clark County Commissioner Steve Stuart, who serves on the board along with Doug Quinn, director of water services for Clark Public Utilities, said members don’t participate on votes concerning projects in their counties.

“We’re certainly there to advocate for good projects,” Stuart said. “It’s an amazingly low-cost investment with a great return for our local economy.”

Stephanie Rice: 360-735-4508 or stephanie.rice@columbian.com.