Sarasota County awarded EPA loan for water quality improvements
Francesco Abbruzzino, The Uncensored Report, LLC
SARASOTA COUNTY – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded Sarasota County a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan, which will be used to help finance upgrades to the Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility (BRWRF).
The approximately $105 million WIFIA loan will fund about half of the enhancements to the BRWRF including conversion to Advanced Wastewater Treatment (AWT) process and expansion of daily treatment capacities.
The upgrade ensures that the nutrients in the reclaimed water will meet AWT requirements by December 2025. The facility is also being expanded to increase treatment capacity from 12 million gallons per day to 18 million gallons per day.
County commissioners approved the upgrades in June 2019. Additional improvements to the BRWRF include the addition of two-aquifer recharge wells for effluent disposal during wet weather.
Due to the county’s financial stability the interest rate on the loan is a low 1.84 percent and will save nearly $10 million from the original projection. In addition, Sarasota County was one of only 55 communities nationwide selected to receive these funds.
“This loan will help to improve and protect our water quality, and save our citizens money,” said Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners’ Chairman Alan Maio. “This continues to be a priority for our board, and the EPA’s support is a testament to our ongoing commitment to fiscal and environmental responsibility.”
Public Utilities Department Director Mike Mylett, whose team will also start the process of converting the Venice Gardens Water Reclamation Facility to AWT soon, said the loan is a welcome support of projects that are vital to the community and environment.
“This is a huge win for water quality in our community,” he added.
For information about utilities, call the Sarasota County Contact Center at (941) 861-5000 or by visit scgov.net.