State Board Approves Low-Cost Loan for Arlington Water Treatment Plant Improvements
By Traci Peterson
Posted on December 27, 2018, December 27, 2018


The Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) has approved a request from the City of Arlington for up to $79.5 million in financing from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for the design and construction of improvements to the City's Pierce-Burch Water Treatment Plant.

The assistance, which was announced earlier this month, is a low-interest loan and, reduced interest costs will save the city about $9 million over the next 20 years, according to the TWDB,

The Pierce-Burch Water Treatment Plant is the older of Arlington's two water treatment plants, with the original plant opening in the mid-1950s. Over the years, improvements to the site have brought the production capacity of the plant to 75 million gallons per day. However, equipment limitations currently make it difficult to reliably operate at full capacity. Proposed updates include:

  • Construction of two new four-million-gallon clearwells and demolition of the three existing clearwells at the plant.  Clearwells are used to store treated water before it is distributed throughout the city. The work will address the structural deficiencies in the current clearwells and make it possible for clearwells at the plant to operate independently during maintenance.
  • Improved chemical feed facilities and backup disinfection.
  • A new dual pressure pump station to replace the existing high service pump station at the plant and the existing Charles F. Anderson, Jr. Pump Station in the distribution system. The new pumps will better serve the city's lower and upper pressure planes, which include most of the city.
  • Improved electrical infrastructure and backup power generation, as well as other equipment improvements.

The Texas Water Development Board is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state's water resources. It awards funding from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund based on applications from cities and other community water systems in Texas.

"We are pleased to once again successfully work with the TWDB," said Arlington Water Utilities Director Craig Cummings. "By working with this agency, Arlington residents are able to save millions of dollars in interest expenses over the life of these loans that pay for critical plant upgrades"

In its review of Arlington's application for funding , TWDB staff noted the strong financial management and planning of the City's water utility. Specifically, the staff's recommendation for approval highlighted Arlington Water Utilities' low debt burden, as well as Arlington's low household cost factor. The household cost factor is a metric that refers to the percentage of average household income spent on water/wastewater services. Arlington's percentage is 1.3 percent; while the water/wastewater industry benchmark is 2 percent.

Planning and design for the Pierce-Burch Water Treatment project will begin in 2019. Construction is set to begin in 2020.

This week's announcement marked the second TWDB funding award in 2018 for Arlington Water. In March, TWDB awarded Arlington Water Utilities a low-interest loan of $4.65 million and a $806,300 "green grant" for a construction project that will improve wastewater flows in the city while helping to protect creeks and streams. The green grant is a loan forgiveness portion of the award that is reserved for projects that demonstrate environmental stewardship.

The department also received two TWDB green grants totaling $1,277,638 and $16.2 million in low-interest loans in 2017. Previous awards in 2014 and 2016 totaled $6.5 million in assistance.

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