Georgia communities receive infrastructure loans totaling $13.5 million

January 25, 2016

Five Georgia communities were awarded financing totaling $13,451,250 for water, sewer, and wastewater infrastructure improvements by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) board of directors.

The communities include the city of Millen, the town of Williamson, and Effingham County, Jones County and Paulding County. 

Approved loans:

  • Millen was awarded a $1,030,000 Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) loan and a $165,000 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loan.
  • Williamson was awarded a $100,000 DWSRF loan.
  • Effingham County was awarded a $2,500,000 Georgia Fund loan.
  • Jones County was awarded a $1,450,000 DWSRF loan.  
  • Paulding County was awarded a $8,206,250 Georgia Reservoir Fund loan.

Quotes:

“The loan programs offered by GEFA assist local governments with improving their environmental infrastructure. Financing water, wastewater, solid waste, and energy, land and water conservation projects encourages economic growth and the stewardship of our environment.” – GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark. 

“I’d like to express my appreciation to Gov. Deal, the Georgia Congressional delegation, and the members of the General Assembly for their support. The state’s commitment to helping cities and counties finance infrastructure projects contributes greatly to improving Georgia’s water resources.” – GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark. 

“GEFA’s low-interest financing helps communities throughout the state. The projects that we agreed to finance today demonstrate that GEFA is investing in communities that are willing to invest in themselves.” – Chairman of the GEFA Board of Directors and Mayor of Dallas Boyd L. Austin.

Project and loan details:

City of Millen

The $1,030,000 CWSRF loan will help finance the construction of a 400kW solar energy generation facility at the city’s wastewater treatment plant and a 28kW solar energy generation facility at the city’s lift station. This project will result in a net operation cost reduction and shield Millen from future power rate increases. The solar array will produce 95 to 100 percent of Millen’s energy needs for the wastewater plant and lift station. The city will pay 1.03 percent interest on the 20-year loan. This loan qualifies for an interest rate reduction because it’s an eligible energy conservation project, and includes principal forgiveness up to $206,000, if all funds are drawn. 

The $165,000 DWSRF loan will finance the construction of a 30kW solar energy generation facility at well #3 and a 36kW solar energy generation facility well #2. The solar arrays will produce 95 to 100 percent of Millen’s energy needs for both wells. This project will result in a net operating cost reduction and shield Millen from future power rate increases. The city will pay 1.03 percent interest on a 20-year loan. This loan qualifies for an interest rate reduction because it’s an eligible energy conservation project and includes principal forgiveness of $66,000 if all funds are drawn.   

Town of Williamson

The $100,000 DWSRF loan will finance replacing approximately 200 residential meters with an automatic meter reading (AMR) system. This project will address inaccuracies estimated between 5 to 20 percent from outdated meters. This project will also improve billing efficiency and reduce subcontracted services with the AMR technology.

The town will pay a 0.50 percent interest rate on the 10-year loan. The loan qualifies for a reduced interest rate because it’s an eligible water conservation project, and includes principal forgiveness up to $40,000 if all funds are drawn.   

Effingham County

The $2,500,000 Georgia Fund loan will finance the extension of approximately 8,000 linear feet (LF) of 16-inch water main, approximately 5,000 LF of 16-inch forcemain, approximately 14,000 LF of 12-inch reuse water main, and a sewer pumping station to serve a proposed residential development as well as future development. Effingham County will pay 3.03 percent interest on the 20-year loan. 

Jones County

The $1,450,000 DWSRF loan will finance the construction of a filtration system for iron removal from the county’s deep well, and install two backup generators at the existing wells and booster pump station. This project will remove high iron levels from the deep well, provide backup power, and rehabilitate a pump station, which has reached the end of its useful life. Jones County will pay 1.53 percent on the 20-year loan, which includes a principal forgiveness up $500,000, if all funds are drawn. The county is a PlanFirst designated community through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, which qualifies it for a reduced interest rate. 

Paulding County

The $8,206,250 Georgia Reservoir Fund loan will help finance the construction of a 36-inch water main along Highway 61, a Highway 278 booster pumping station, and additional treated water storage as needed to ensure adequate water pressure throughout the distribution system. These improvements relate to Paulding County’s Richland Creek Reservoir, which will be constructed in the northern part of the county. The reservoir location will change the distribution system pressures compared to the county’s existing water supply service from Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority (CCMWA) along the county’s eastern border. This loan, together with the state direct investment of $15 million provided by GEFA in December 2015, will allow Paulding County to accelerate its transition from CCMWA, which obtains water from Allatoona Lake, thereby making more water available to meet other regional needs. Paulding County will pay 2.03 percent interest rate on a 30-year loan.       

Additional information:

The CWSRF, a federal loan program administered by GEFA, provides communities with low-interest loans to fund wastewater infrastructure and water pollution control projects. The program is jointly funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Georgia. Eligible projects include a variety of stormwater and wastewater collection and treatment projects. These projects conserve and improve water resources, and facilitate economic growth and development. Low-interest loans are available up to $25 million.

The DWSRF, a federal loan program administered by GEFA, provides communities with low-interest loans to fund water infrastructure projects that deliver safe, affordable drinking water. The program is jointly funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Georgia. Eligible projects include a variety of public health or compliance related water supply projects. These projects conserve and improve water resources, and facilitate economic growth and development. Low-interest loans are available up to $25 million.

The Georgia Fund, a state-funded program administered by GEFA, provides communities with low-interest loans for water, wastewater, water conservation and solid waste infrastructure projects. Eligible projects include water and sewer lines, treatment plants, pumping stations, wells, water storage tanks and water meters. These projects conserve and improve water resources, and facilitate economic growth and development. Low-interest loans are available up to $3 million.

In January 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal directed DEFA to develop and launch the GWSP and committed $300 million to the program for loans and state direct investment. The purpose of the GWSP is to align and mobilize the resources of the state of Georgia to assist local governments with developing new sources of water supply to meet needs of local, regional and state significance. 

GEFA provides loan financing at a reduced interest rate for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects at water and wastewater treatment plants, landfills, and municipal solid waste facilities; water conservation projects in the areas of water loss and end-use water efficiency; and land conservation projects, including fee title and conservation easement purchases.