Sioux Falls preparing to replace sewage complex

Capitol News Bureau

A South Dakota board might be asked in the coming months for the first of several bond issues for replacing the Sioux Falls sewage-treatment complex, at a cost of $159 million, along with several other water system projects that city leaders want.

Wastewater superintendent Mark Perry and city engineer Ryan Johnson went to Pierre Thursday and gave a slideshow for the state Board of Water and Natural Resources. The panel makes loans and grants for South Dakota water-system projects.

The city’s timetable calls for hiring a consultant for the wastewater replacement center in early July and signing up a construction manager in August or September

“It is the largest capital project, in aggregate, the city of Sioux Falls has undertaken,” Johnson told the board.

Construction would start in 2020 and finish in 2024. The plan calls for four annual loans, starting this year and running through 2022, with the first at 2.5 percent interest for 20 years.

The plant was built in the early 1980s and completed in 1986. Last year it handled an average of 17.2 million gallons per day, more than 80 percent of capacity. The city is trying to keep pace a population that’s recently been growing by 3,000 to 5,000 per year.

Perry said the Sioux Falls plant also handles wastewater from Brandon, Renner and Prairie Meadows. Harrisburg currently sends its wastewater to Sioux Falls, too, but is moving ahead on its own plant. Tea meanwhile intends to start sending wastewater to Sioux Falls in the early 2020s.

Sioux Falls also has three other water projects on track that will take the total ask to more than $200 million, according to Mike Perkovich, a state Department of Environment and Natural Resources official.

Perkovich said a leveraged bond issue would be dedicated to Sioux Falls. He said there probably would be a second, in late 2020 or 2021.

“We’ve got a little bit more flexibility there,” Perkovich said about using a dedicated issue. He added, “I think we can make this work for everybody.”

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