The Town of Twisp has received a $900,000 Community Development Block Grant through the state Department of Commerce that will be used to make much-needed upgrades to the town’s sewer and water treatment systems.
The grant is one of 21 awarded to support vital infrastructure projects in rural communities, the department said. In total, Commerce doled out $10.8 million in grants. The projects awarded funding were selected from 37 grant applications requesting $18.5 million.
Twisp Public Works Director Andrew Denham said the $900,000 grant is a portion of the funding for a $3.6 million sewer collection system upgrade program that will rehabilitate 12,000 feet of the town’s 42,000 feet of sanitary sewer, as well as reconstruct one of the three sewage lift stations and replace the biosolids equipment at the wastewater treatment plant. Other funding will come from a $1.776 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and a USDA loan of $915,000 to be repaid at an interest rate of 1.125%.
“The plan is to start with the first phase of sewer collection rehabilitation in 2021 on the Twisp Avenue reconstruct project, while designing the more-complex components of the project in 2021 and then construct phase 2 in 2022,” Denham said in an email.
The State CDBG program receives an annual funding allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and targets assistance to benefit lower-income populations in rural areas.
In addressing the sewer system issues about a year ago, town officials noted in a grant application that the pipes and pumps that deliver sewage to the treatment plant are in such disrepair that “they are in imminent threat of a catastrophic discharge of raw sewage” into the Twisp or Methow rivers.
An inspection of the sewer pipes in 2017 using a remote-control camera found 26% of the lines need to be repaired or replaced. Problems include “cracked and broken sewer pipes, severe root intrusion, displaced sewer main joints, deteriorated and leaking manholes, collapsed sewers and other defects,” according to the town’s earlier grant application.
Identified as among the wastewater system’s most pressing needs were new sewer lines, upgrading the pump system at a lift station, and improving the handling and storing of biosolids at the treatment plant.
The town’s 2018 application for a Community Development Block Grant from the Department of Commerce was rejected. Officials set about looking for ways to reduce the overall cost of the projects in order to make their application more competitive, which paid off in this year’s grant award.