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Sturgis plans major sanitary sewer projects with $10.4M state loan

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More than $20 million in funding for drinking water, waste water and solid waste projects is headed for western South Dakota from the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The DANR approved a mix of grants and loans totaling $103,548,200 for projects statewide, most of which is low-interest loans with principle forgiveness. DANR Secretary Hunter Roberts said the funding will allow for upgraded infrastructure and enhanced environmental protection.

The City of Sturgis will be tackling sanitary sewer mains with their $10,339,000 portion of the Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan. Public Works Director Rick Bush said they'll be extending portions of the sewer line from the area around the main city park up the north side of Bear Butte Creek to the west of town near Runnings, where new development is going in. Other mains in the same area just south of the interstate will be replaced due to age. 

The 2.125% interest rate over 30 years makes the upgrades both feasible and cost-effective for water system users.

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"I mean, we couldn't go to the bank and get that," Bush said. "So we have to implement a surcharge that shows we can pay that off, but what we've been able to do is offset that by lowering our minimum monthly charges, usually, so the net change is really zero dollars."

The city will begin the process of finding an engineering company in the next four to six weeks and hope to get plans done within four to five months. Bush wasn't sure, but said they're looking at construction possibly in spring 2024. 

Belle Fourche received a $72,000 Solid Waste Management Program grant for a pre-shredding machine at the landfill. The shredder will help reduce the size of materials to be baled, which will help with operational efficiency and extend the life of the landfill. 

A $700,000 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan is earmarked for the Terry Trojan Water Project District in Lead, with $300,000 of that in principle forgiveness. They'll be replacing water meters with pits outfitted with an automatic reading system. Operators will be able to read meters remotely, increasing efficiency and lowering labor costs. The loan carries 1.875% interest over 10 years.  $375,000 from a previous grant will also go towards funding the upgrades. 

An additional $9,500,000 will go towards replacing two storage tanks, adjusting lines to increase water pressure, and expanding the well field to curb supply issues for Tripp County Water Users. The district received $9.2 million in Drinking Water State Revolving Loan funds previously, along with $4,050,000 from the American Rescue Plan.

The South Dakota State Legislature appropriates funding annually for the Solid Waste Management Program through the Governor's omnibus water funding bill. The Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund programs are funded through a combination of federal appropriations, loan repayments and bonds. 

Contact Darsha Dodge at ddodge@rapidcityjournal.com

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