SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Sarasota County was awarded a loan from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to pay for upgrades to the Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility. The loan will fund enhancements to the wastewater treatment processes and expand the site’s daily capacities.
The Bee Ridge Water Reclamation Facility upgrades will be funded halfway from the loan according to county officials. The loan is $105 million and was awarded from funding set aside by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.
Through the planned upgrades, Sarasota County said nutrients in reclaimed water will meet Advanced Wastewater Treatment requirements by December 2025, with the enhancements to target conversion of Bee Ridge to an AWT process.
In terms of expansion, the facility’s treatment capacity will go from 12 million gallons of water per day to 18 million. The upgrades were approved by county commissioners in June 2019. Other facility improvements include two-aquifer recharge wells for disposal of liquid waste during wet weather.
“This loan will help to improve and protect our water quality, and save our citizens money,” Sarasota County Board of County Commissioners’ Chairman Alan Maio said. “This continues to be a priority for our board, and the EPA’s support is a testament to our ongoing commitment to fiscal and environmental responsibility.”
County officials said the community’s financial stability helped keep the interest rate on the loan low, only 1.84%, and saved the county almost $10 million compared to the original expected cost. Only 55 communities across the U.S. were chosen to receive the loans.