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Springfield to seek grant for reuse water
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Springfield is taking its first furtive steps toward adding a reuse water system to its wastewater  treatment plant.

Council members approved allowing City Manager Brett Bennett to apply for a $100,000 grant from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority to explore what it would take to install a reuse system.

“We’ve talked a while about having a reuse system,” Bennett said.

As part of its permit from the Environmental Protection Division, the city had to conduct a reuse feasibility study. Bennett estimated the cost of the project to be $392,000, and a grant of up to $100,000 is available. The rest, Bennett said, likely would come from special purpose local option sales tax proceeds.

“It’s an opportunity to capitalize on $100,000 grant,” he said. “I feel we have a good chance to get it.”

The city’s sewage treatment plant can handle 500,000 gallons per day and its sprayfield has a capacity of 350,000 gallons per day.

Bennett said the project could be scaled back, if council members desired to do so. He estimated that 60 percent-70 percent of the cost of a reuse system would be in getting a storage tank.

Council member Kenny Usher wondered about the city’s return on its investment.

“I appreciate what you’re shooting for, if this is a mandated thing,” he told Bennett.

Mayor pro tem Jeff Ambrose said he understood Usher’s point.

“I want to see us get the most bang for our buck,” he said. “It would be nice to have that capacity.”

Bennett said the city didn’t have to pursue the grant right away if questions still persist. But the state, which has been pushing reuse water, could force the city’s hand.

“A year from now, we may have to do it,” council member Gary Weitman said.

Said council member Charles Hinely: “If reuse water is available, I think the EPD is going to make them do it. I think we are shooting ourselves in the foot if we don’t do it.”

The city could have as much as $500,000 to spend on a water-sewer project, and its expected 2011 water-sewer revenues are estimated roughly to be $544,000.

The grant itself is available because another government was awarded a grant and could not use all of it.

“It is a question of when you will see that materialize and how long it will take,” Bennett said.