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Port Arthur’s main wastewater treatment plant cleared for $60M in upgrades

A big-ticket improvement to Port Arthur’s main wastewater treatment plant will finally come to fruition.

The Port Arthur City Council has unanimously authorized the sale of $60.56 million in certificates of obligation to renovate the main plant at 6300 Procter St.

Donnie Stanton, the city’s director of water utility operations, said the renovations are scheduled to begin in early 2021 with a 36-month timeline for construction.

“We can’t stop the plant from operating,” Stanton said. “The major systems will have to be replaced while the plant is still online.”

The Texas Water Development Board is purchasing the bonds and has given the city $4.25 million in principal forgiveness, meaning the city only needs to pay back $56.31 million in principal and $6.459 million in interest through August 2042. The interest rate was reduced to 0.579%.

“This is very important in so we can provide quality service to our citizens and make sure we meet TCEQ [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality] standards and state standards as well as provide quality water to the people and quality water treatment,” City Manager Ron Burton said. “It’s all about enhancing the product and maintaining the standards of the product.”

The city has three wastewater plants, with the other two on FM 365 and in Sabine Pass. Stanton said he plans to rehab the small package plant in Sabine Pass “in the foreseeable future,” but didn’t give a specific date.

Wastewater is treated biologically with trillions of bacteria, Stanton said, but the wastewater plants speed up the process. Those plants are not to be confused with the city’s water plant on H.O. Mills Boulevard, which completed renovations in 2017.

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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