Polson receives $14M state loan to modernize wastewater plant

Gov. Steve Bullock on Wednesday said the city of Polson had been approved for two state loans totaling more than $14 million to modernize its wastewater treatment system and improve water quality and protect public health.

In announcing the loan, Bullock said the city also received several grants to assist with the cost of an engineering and design study for the new system, including a $750,000 from the Treasure State Endowment Program and $125,000 Renewable Resource Grant.

But the State Revolving Fund provided the bulk of the funding at $14.2 million. The loan offers 2.5 percent interest for 30 years, along with a second loan for $400,000 at 2.5 percent for 30 years.

“Modern infrastructure is vital to our economy and to the livelihood of our communities,” Bullock said. “This investment will protect the health and well-being of our citizens, increase access to and quality of the water, and better prepare the community for new growth and development, all while creating good-paying jobs for Montanans.”

Polson’s original wastewater treatment system was constructed in 1981, with the last major improvements made in 2001.

Over the next several years, City Manager Mark Shrives said, the city had ongoing difficulties meeting water quality standards.

“We were unable to consistently treat wastewater in accord with the city’s discharge permit,” Shrives said. “Our treatment infrastructure was aging and outdated, and we discharge into the Flathead River, which as a high-use recreation area has more stringent standards for water quality.”

Shrives said the new treatment system will employ modern technology that meets current and future water quality regulations.

DOWL of Bozeman is serving as the project’s engineering firm while Swank Enterprises of Kalispell is acting as the project contractor.

“Construction got underway in mid-April and it’s been going pretty smoothly,” Shrives said. “We’re currently doing some of the large concrete pours for the new holding basins.”

The project is expected to be completed by October of 2018.