LEWISTON, Minn., Jan 15, 2013 -- USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited Lewiston, Minn., in Winona County today to highlight how $750,000 in USDA funds is helping Lewiston improve its wastewater treatment system and strengthen its community infrastructure.
“Modern infrastructure results in healthier communities and economic development opportunities,” Landkamer said. “The hills and bluffs in Winona County make it one of the more attractive areas of the state. It’s important that we provide communities like Lewiston with the resources necessary to maintain their unique quality of life.”
The Rural Development funding comes in the form of a $329,000 loan and a $421,000 grant. Loan-to-grant ratios are determined by a formula designed to keep monthly utility rates affordable for users. The State of Minnesota’s Public Facilities Authority also provided a $593,000 grant through its Wastewater Infrastructure Fund.
The $1.3 million project will finance the installation of an equalization basin as an upgrade to the city’s wastewater treatment system. Lewiston is under directive from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to complete the abandonment of the city's original wastewater lagoon system. A new Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF) was constructed in 2001 due to the development of a sinkhole within the previous lagoon system. Lewiston was using the remaining lagoon cell as an equalization basin for times of high flow.
Upon analysis from the city's engineering firm, the recommended solution for peak flow protection was the construction of an equalization basin. When flow rates at the WWTF exceed the design capacity of the facility, excess flow would be diverted to the equalization basin and held until influent flows drop. Because the peak hourly wet weather flows exceed the capacity of the influent lift station, the pumps and force main will also be upgraded to meet design standards as part of this project.
Construction is expected to begin April 2013. This project will provide protection against peak flows not associated with storm events and extend the life of the city's WWTF.
Since 2009, Rural Development has provided over $200 million in financing to help over 120 communities in rural Minnesota improve or upgrade their wastewater or drinking water treatment infrastructure. The financing boosts the economy by creating jobs during the construction phase of each project, and helps each community address critical infrastructure needs.
In addition to wastewater and drinking water projects, Rural Development has programs that improve rural housing, community facilities, businesses, renewable energy and high-speed Internet. Since 2009, Rural Development has invested over $3.5 billion throughout Minnesota.
To learn more about Rural Development programs, call the office in Faribault at (507) 332-7418, or Austin at (507) 437-8247. You can also visit Rural Development on the web at www.rurdev.usda.gov/mn.