By Nick Nunn, Staff Writer

During the Aug. 12 meeting of the Madison City Council, City Manager David Nunn and Wayne Haynie, professional engineer with Burns & McDonnell, described to the council a potential wastewater project, which would involve converting the city’s Northside Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) to a pumping station, which would feed Madison’s Southside WWTP, a project that would total approximately $1.63 million.

Northside WWTP, located at 1330 Hayes Street, was built in the early 1970s and currently serves the northwest portion of Madison by processing approximately 140,000 gallons per day, or about 10 percent of the city’s total wastewater.

In a memorandum from Haynie to Nunn, dated Aug. 8, Haynie outlined two options regarding Northside WWTP, which would be in need of improvements, if it were to continue operating as a treatment plant.

The first option, which would be to service the Northside WWTP in order to get it up to standards, would cost an estimated $1.7 million.

The second option would be to decommission the Northside WWTP, convert it to a pumping station and divert the flow that is currently being treated by Northside to the Southside WWTP.

The cost of converting Northside and rerouting its flow to Southside is estimated to be $1.63 million.

Nunn stated that there would be no problems with Southside WWTP dealing with the additional flow from Northside, since Southside is operating well under maximum capacity.

“Only half of the plant is operating right now,” said Nunn.

The memorandum also notes that the decommissioning of Northside could also save Madison up to $150,000 per year on operation and maintenance costs. That savings should balance the annual debt service for a financing package for the project, according to the memorandum.

Haynie also stated in the memorandum that the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) “would like to offer the City $1,467,000 in loan funds along with $163,000 in principal forgiveness.”

During the meeting on Monday, Nunn stated that the interest rate offered by GEFA is 1.4 percent. Attorney Joe Reitman likened the low interest to “free money,” once the effect of inflation is taken into account, and recommended that the council “move quickly” in order to ensure that rate.

Nunn told the council that no action is required by them at this time, but a loan application should be prepared as soon as possible, by October at the latest, in order to be receive the current interest rate.

Additionally, a GEFA loan agreement must be signed by June 30, 2014 if the city is also to receive the principal forgiveness funds.