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|Aldermen approve bond sales|
A $19-million project to deliver relief to the Sparta Aquifer took another step toward reality Tuesday night at the West Monroe Board Aldermen's regular meeting.
That's the case because aldermen agreed to ask the state Bond Commission for approval to sell some $4.75 million in bonds in what amounts to shuffling paperwork to access a $4.75 million grant from the state Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). DEQ serves as a distributor of the grant funding, which was made possible by the stimulus package Congress approved earlier this year.
"The state said it couldn't distribute the money as a direct grant, but if you borrow the money, the state will forgive the debt once the project is completed," said Doug Caldwell, attorney for the city of West Monroe.
Armed with some $14 million in capital outlay funding from the state, the city of West Monroe along with West Ouachita Sewer District No. 5 applied for the $4.75 million stimulus grant to help pay for the $19-million Sparta Reused Project. The project eventually will result in the city and sewer district recycling wastewater for Graphic Packing to use in its day-to-day operations. The sewer district currently unloads it wastewater through the city's treatment plant. Wastewater from the treatment plant currently is dumped into the Ouachita River.
Officials expect some seven millions of wastewater each day will be recycled from West Monroe's treatment plant for Graphic Packaging to use. By utilizing recycled wastewater from West Monroe's treatment plant, Graphic Packaging will reduce the amount of water it draws from the Sparta. Graphic Packaging currently draws some 10 million gallons per day from the Sparta.
"It's really going to be a positive thing for the future of western Ouachita Parish," said Mayor Dave Norris.
"We've been working on this project for quite some time," Norris said. "It's finally coming together."
Meanwhile, aldermen also signed off on a $1.5 million bond sale to generate monies to pay for the city's match to obtain the $4.75 million grant from DEQ. West Monroe along with West Ouachita Sewer District No. 5 will pay a .95 percent interest rate on the money the city and sewer district borrow through the $1.5-million bond sale.
The law firm of Foley and Judel of New Orleans will handle both bond sales for the city and sewer district.
In other action related to the Sparta Reuse Project, the board of aldermen authorized the city clerk to advertise for bids for a host of equipment that will be used in the Sparta project. They include pressurized reactor units, dissolved air floatation units, static mixers, pre-engineered building, pad mount distribution transformer and a power factor corrector capacitor.