Mason County PUD No. 1 received notice from the Washington State Department of Health that five capital water projects submitted by the PUD in November of 2019 were chosen for Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) loans, totaling nearly $600,000. Three of these projects qualified for a 100% loan forgiveness subsidy, including the Bay East water system manganese treatment project at $88,559, the Lake Arrowhead water system manganese treatment project at $304,500, and also the Lake Arrowhead mainline replacement project at $162,019.
The subsidy qualification means that rather than enter into a loan contract where the funds would be repaid over time through the PUD’s budget and rates, the $555,078 in revolving fund loans are considered grants and no repayment is required. To put the impact of this dollar amount into perspective, the District’s entire capital budget for water projects is $500,000 annually. The grant funds will allow the PUD to accomplish these projects on the 10-year capital work plan much sooner and without impacting future water rates or the annual budget.
“PUD staff put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to identify projects in our construction work plan that would qualify for funding. The board has made it a strategic plan goal for us to vigorously pursue low cost financing options. While improvements and upgrades to our water systems are important and necessary, these projects are also costly,” stated Kristin Masteller, PUD 1’s general manager. “We want to thank the Washington State Department of Health and Washington PUD Association for advocating for SRF funds through the state legislature to repair and maintain our state’s aging water infrastructure. Thank you also to the DWSRF team for choosing Mason PUD 1 to receive a portion of these funds so we can continue to deliver safe, reliable drinking water in Mason County.”
The PUD decided to decline the two remaining projects that were chosen for low interest loans. Overseeing three new public works projects in 2020, in addition to the PUD’s regular capital projects will keep the water department busy for the next 18 months. PUD staff plans to assemble a new list of project applications to submit in Fall of 2020.