Mayor Ken Edes and a number of city of Williams staff members were on hand for a special meeting with Water Infrastructure Finance Authority (WIFA) Chairman Steve Owens Nov. 19 at city hall. Owens, who is also the director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ), presented the city of Williams with a check for $7.5 million during the meeting that will be used for wastewater treatment within the city. The money, a low-interest loan through WIFA, will be used for the design and construction of the city's new secondary wastewater treatment plant.
Owens said the loan was a chance for the state to help invest in the community.
"We've got a great relationship between WIFA and ADEQ and the city of Williams," Owens said. "We really see this as an investment in the city of Williams and an investment in northern Arizona. When you've got the kinds of growth that you're already experiencing, this is really kind of a no-brainer loan as far as we're concerned. These are low interest loans. Just by a very conservative estimate, to borrow $7.5 million in 20 years (otherwise you'd have to go into the commercial market) we figured it's going to save you $900,000, maybe as much as $1 million, over the course of the life of this loan. I think that's going to have a major impact."
The Williams City Council voted unanimously to approve the guaranteed maximum price - $12.25 million - for the new wastewater treatment plant during a regular meeting of city council on Jan. 11. Construction on the plant began earlier this year. Start-up and testing at the new facility is scheduled for February and substantial completion is scheduled for April. Performance testing will be under way May 7-June 4 and final completion is scheduled for June 6.
The new plant will nearly double the city's wastewater treatment capacity to 980,000 gallons a day. The plant is designed to remove pollutants from wastewater so the treated effluent can be used to irrigate the nearby Elephant Rocks Golf Course.
Williams' existing wastewater treatment plant has two manmade, aerated lagoons. The new treatment plant will be tied in with the existing lagoon system, which serves as a seasonal effluent storage reservoir and a reuse pump station.
The new wastewater plant will meet the Class B+ effluent requirement for reclaimed water. Under Class B+ water quality effluent limitations, secondary treatment, disinfection and nitrogen removal are required.
WIFA maintains and improves water quality in Arizona by providing communities and private water systems with access to low-interest financial assistance and technical assistance needed for basic water infrastructure.
"Infrastructure is a difficult thing to tackle," Williams Mayor Ken Edes said. "WIFA is a resource for us and we really appreciate it."