City of Farmersville will hold ground breaking for $18 mil. Wastewater Treatment Plant Nov. 2
By Reggie Ellis
FARMERSVILLE – A lot has happened in Farmersville in the last 40 years. The city’s population doubled, the school district opened a high school, the city built a civic center and a community center, the city’s boundaries expanded north to the highway, the Highway 198 interchange was completely redone, water meters were installed and Visalia Road was widened to four lanes throughout town. All of that growth has been good for Farmersville, but not so good for its waste water treatment facility which hasn’t been expanded since 1978.
That will change this week when the City of Farmersville breaks ground on its new, $18 million waste water treatment plant (WWTP). The city will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 2 at the south end of South Virginia Avenue just south of Farmersville Civic Center, located 909 W. Visalia Road in Farmersville.
The 50-year-old facility was first identified for expansion by the city’s engineers in 2006. When municipal sewer systems pass the 70% threshold for capacity the State Water Board mandates that the City begin plans to expand their WWTP. Farmersville’s facility currently processes 850,000 gallons of waste per day which is 68% of its 1.25 million gallon capacity, meaning that some days it surpasses the 70% threshold. If the WWTP was not upgraded the City would be hampered economically. Not having available capacity means cities cannot issue “will serve” letters to developers, a required document for them to build. That could lead to the State issuing a ban on new development, which would further hamper the impoverished city’s ability to pay for its own needed improvements like sewer and water.
“We are thankful to all of those who have worked for the past 12 years to bring this project to fruition,” said Farmersville Mayor Paul Boyer.
The $18 million project, the largest in the city’s history, will replace its outdated aerated lagoon treatment plant with a new primary and secondary treatment facility with solids processing and handling facilities. The project includes new influent pump station and headworks, a Modified Ludzack-Ettinger (MLE) aeration process for primary treatment, secondary clarifiers, activated sludge return, solids holding and aerobic digester tanks, solids thickening equipment and solids drying and handling facilities. Treated effluent will meet or exceed State requirements for effluent quality. The new plant will be a “vital piece of transformative infrastructure” to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and expand the capacity of the plant to meet the demand of the growing City.
The city has already secured a $5 million USDA loan that is expected to be paid back over the course of 40 years at 2.75% interest. The loan will be paid back through rate increases that began in 2013. Last November, the final step of the five-year rate ratcheting ended when residents began paying $56.61 per month for sewer, up from $23.75 in 2013. The remaining portion of construction of the facility will likely be paid for through the State Water Resources Control Board’s (water board) State Revolving Fund.
For more information on the ground breaking, contact City Clerk Rochelle Giovani by calling 559-747-0458 or emailing RGiovani@cityoffarmersville-ca.gov.