EPA loans $281 million to Johnson County for sewage treatment plant upgrades

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MISSION, Kan. – New federal loan funding will soon support wastewater treatment plant upgrades and create more jobs in Johnson County.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has provided a $281 million Water Infrastructure Funding and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan to Johnson County to make improvements to the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility is the oldest treatment facility in the county. A significant portion of the facility has reached or is approaching the end of its useful life.

“Johnson County is to be commended for successfully securing this WIFIA loan,” said EPA Region 7 Administrator Meg McCollister. “Thanks to President Biden’s bipartisan Infrastructure Act, we will soon be providing billions of dollars for water infrastructure to more communities, including overstretched communities that have traditionally struggled to compete for federal funding.”

The treatment technology currently in place at Nelson is not capable of meeting future water quality standards.

The first phase of the project will reconfigure the existing system to allow the facility to remain operational during the second phase of construction. Plans to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant include adding ancillary treatment facilities to treat water during peak wet weather flows and implementing nutrient removal improvements biological.

This project will help Johnson County reduce nitrogen and phosphorus discharges to meet standards set by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE).

“We appreciate the opportunity to use WIFIA low interest financing, a key part of leveraging financing, for the Nelson Wastewater Treatment Facility Improvement Project,” said Johnson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert. “The community benefits of this important project include replacing aging infrastructure, supporting community growth and redevelopment, improving wet weather management and improving water quality.

When complete, the facility will be able to handle 15 million gallons per day during average daily flows and 52 million gallons per day during peak flows. The system will also provide an additional 87 million gallons per day of auxiliary wet weather capacity to allow Johnson County to meet future demand.

The overall project is expected to cost around $574.4 million. The upgraded facility is expected to save the county about $80 million and create about 1,800 jobs. Construction is expected to begin in January 2024, with an expected completion date of 2029.

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