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NEW BOSTON, Texas—Riverbend Water Resources District's Board of Directors voted to apply for monies from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund at their regular meeting Wednesday.

The funds will be used to begin the process of putting in a new water intake on Wright Patman Lake, a new raw water line and a new water treatment plant at TexAmericas Center. The project, which is estimated to cost $200 million, is part of the district's Regional Water Master Plan.

In April, they were approved for loans through the Texas Water Development Board's State Water Infrastructure Fund for Texas, also known as SWIFT. That program has a tight timeline and paperwork as part of the application and Riverbend wasn't able to get everything together by the deadline, said Kyle Dooley, Riverbend's executive director/CEO. They did have resolutions of support from their member entities, he said, but they did not have final water supply contracts from the cities. Those are being drafted now and he plans to work on getting on the cities' agendas in August and September to present the contracts for approval.

Riverbend provides water and wastewater services to the Red River Army Depot and the TexAmericas center and represents the cities of Annona, Atlanta, Avery, DeKalb, Hooks, Leary, Maud, Nash, New Boston, Redwater, Texarkana, Texas and Wake Village.

Once the contracts are approved, they would then finish the application for the SRF program, which accepts applications year-round. Dooley said that while they are pursuing the SRF funding now to begin the project, they could also use SWIFT funding in the future, if they chose.

The bonds will be repaid through a regional water infrastructure fee of an additional $1.50 per thousand gallons of water. Customers will pay that price for three years and the rate goes up to $2.50 per thousand gallons in the fourth year. Dooley said at that time, they will have firm numbers on the actual cost of the project and could possibly adjust the cost at that point.

The board also voted to amend Consultant Susan Roth's contract to include her working to apply for the SRF funding, similar to the work she performed in helping Riverbend apply for the SWIFT funding.

The board also approved creating a Supplemental Environmental Project Proposal to submit to TCEQ in response to exceeding excess effluent limits at the Ron Collins Reclamation Facility. Dooley said they could submit the proposal, which would study why the limits were exceeded, in lieu of paying a $46,000 fine to TCEQ for the violation.

The next meeting will be held at 12 p.m. August 21 at the Riverbend Offices, 228A Texas Ave., Texarkana, Texas.

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