Water Resources Board approves $4 million loan for Tecumseh.
The city of Tecumseh officially received a low-interest loan Tuesday for a project intended to secure an additional source of water for the city’s residents.
The Oklahoma Water Resources Board approved the $4 million loan to the Tecumseh Utility Authority, announced J.D. Strong, executive director of the state agency.
The loan will be matched with a $318,400 Community Development Block Grant from the state Commerce Department.
Tecumseh Mayor Eddy Parker, City Manager Jimmy Stokes, City Clerk/Treasurer Cathy Condit, and Mike Warwick, city attorney, attended the board meeting in support of the loan application.
The $4.3 million will be used to upgrade the town’s 2 million-gallon per day rapid sand filtration water treatment plant, and to install about eight miles of water line to Wes Watkins Reservoir.
Tecumseh’s primary source of drinking water is Tecumseh Lake.
However, the water treatment plant was shut down for much of 2012 because of low water levels in the lake. The city of 6,000 residents was then dependent on production from its water wells until Tecumseh began buying potable water from Shawnee via a connection through the Pottawatomie County Development Authority.
Tecumseh also has an emergency connection of limited capacity to Pottawatomie County Rural Water District No. 3.
Tecumseh purchased water from Shawnee for more than a year until pumping from the replenished Tecumseh Lake resumed in July.
To avoid a repetition of last year’s crisis, officials plan to install a 12-inch diameter waterline from Tecumseh’s water treatment plant to Wes Watkins Reservoir — Tecumseh owns a share of the water rights in the lake — and to enlarge the treatment plant.
The treatment plant renovations will include construction of a clarifier, one lift station, a carbon feed system to remove organic contaminants and to control the taste and odor of the treated water, three metal buildings, a new gravel drive, a new pump and a new generator, plus electrical system improvements and controls.
In addition, three new lagoons will be constructed to accompany three existing lagoons.
Each new lagoon will be approximately 259 feet long, 69 feet wide and 13 feet deep, making them capable of holding approximately 1.73 million gallons each.
The state Department of Environmental Quality certified the Tecumseh application in regards to compliance with technical program requirements, and recommended approval of the loan by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.
The DWSRF is administered jointly by the DEQ and the OWRB, and is designed to provide low-interest loans for drinking water infrastructure projects, Strong said.
Joe Freeman, chief of the Water Resources Board’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated that Tecumseh’s 2,381 water customers will realize an estimated $1.2 million in interest savings over the 30-year life of the state loan, compared to traditional financing.
The loan will be secured with a lien on Tecumseh’s water, sewer, electric, and trash collection systems, a one-cent sales tax and perhaps a mortgage on the town’s water and sewer systems, Freeman said.
Since 1983 the Water Resources Board has approved $3 billion in loans and grants for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout Oklahoma.
“We are grateful to state Sen. Ron Sharp and state Rep. Josh Cockroft for their support of this project,” Strong said.
The Tecumseh city council, at its September meeting, awarded bids for both projects.