SUNNYSIDE — In an effort to keep ahead of the increasing needs for treatment of food processing plants’ thousands of gallons of wastewater, the Port of Sunnyside Commissioners have closed a deal to borrow $15.7 million.
The bulk of the funds will cover construction of a new Membrane Bioreactor System at the Port’s Midvale Road Industrial Wastewater Treatment Plant on Midvale Road.
“We are trying to stay ahead of the future needs of our clients by building for future needs.” Port Executive Director Jay Hester stated.
Currently, the Port treatment plant handles wastewater for 10 industrial clients in the immediate Sunnyside area.
Hester said now is a good time for the Port to seek financing for the any planned expansion because of the low interest rate. He conveyed the low interest rate was the best part of the commissioners’ approval.
“We are getting a 2.4 % interest rate for the 14.5-year bond,” the executive director said, noting that the new money bonds will fund $14 million for the bioreactor project.
“It’s also a great time for refinancing some of our bonds that are nearing the end of their repayment life span,” Hester stressed.
In addition, the Port was able to secure refinancing of a second loan to reduce interest rates for 2008 and 2013 bonds with rates of 6.25%.
“But by refinancing, we’re able to bring the rate down to 2.53% for the next three years,” Hester said.
“The banks are anxious to make these loans and are offering these interest rates,” Hester added, saying it is a good benefit for the Port.
This saves the Port money in the long run,” he said.
“It’s a big investment but it is exciting that we’re able to make it happen,” Commissioner Arnold Martin said of revenue and refunding bond proposal.
The expansion, which will include a new building at the plant, will mostly be internal with underground retrofitting of the plant’s pipes. The project will increase the plant’s treatment capacity from 1.1 million gallons a day to 2 million gallons a day, Hester predicted.
“The project will take two years to complete,” Hester noted.
In other Port business, the commissioners met in a special meeting June 25 to approve minor changes in Department of Ecology discharge permit regulations in the agreement between the Port and Darigold, and voted to give authorize Hester to sign the resolution on behalf of Port.
The agreement doesn’t change the volume of discharge to the Port’s treatment plant, only the wording to protect both the Port and the whey plant officials, explained Hester.