BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Town of Mosheim will receive a $1 million grant from the United States Economic Development Agency (EDA) to assist with upgrades to the Lick Creek Valley Wastewater Treatment Plant.
U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-1st, of Johnson City, made the announcement on Friday afternoon, stating in a news release that the upgrades to the system will help pave the way for 430 new jobs in the area.
"I am pleased Mosheim received this grant to assist in their wastewater treatment plant upgrade," Roe said in the release.
"This project is a great example of how the government can wisely leverage public dollars to get private investments and create jobs. This project will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for those in Greene County."
The funds are not, according to the release, a part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, often referred to as "stimulus funds."
The grant, according to the EDA notice, will also leverage an estimated $140 million in private investment.
A portion of these estimates of private investment connected with the wastewater grant refer to the ability of the Town of Mosheim to add the new US Nitrogen plant now under construction to the town's expanded wastewater system.
US Nitrogen has estimated it will bring 80 new jobs to the county, with an average compensation per job of about $50,000, in addition to the many people now involved in building the facility off Pottertown Road at Midway.
The remaining private investment included in the $140 million estimate, however, refers to anticipated expansions to RPC Specialty Coating, Inc., according to Deputy Director Bill Forrester, of the First Tennessee Development District.
Forrester said that RPC will eventually be building the Zike, a new style of bicycle that also appears similar to a stair-stepper.
Manufacturing of the Zike will take place at Mt. Pleasant Industrial Park, he said.
"It's just exciting to get these very competitive funds," Forrester added.
The funds are only awarded on a quarterly basis and require competition against townships in several different states, he said.
"It's a highly competitive process. We're very thrilled to be able to receive [the $1 million grant.]"
Mosheim Mayor Billy Myers has also noted in meetings of the Mosheim Board of Mayor and Aldermen that an industry he did not name has expressed particular interest in locating near US Nitrogen.
This industry could bring in 140 jobs, according to the mayor.
SYSTEM AT CAPACITY
With these and potentially other industries expressing their interest in locating in Mosheim, the Board voted in April to upgrade the Town's wastewater treatment plant in preparation for the extra industrial usage.
As the system stands currently, Vice Mayor Tommy Gregg has explained, the addition of US Nitrogen's usage alone would put the Town's wastewater treatment plant at capacity.
The company anticipates processing 250,000 gallons of wastewater per day. Without an expansion of the wastewater system, the amount would essentially prevent any further customer growth in the system.
Gregg noted that the daily amount of wastewater from US Nitrogen will be approximately equivalent to the amount that the Mt. Pleasant Industrial Park produces in an entire month.
Mosheim's system is currently capable of processing a maximum 975,000 gallons a day, and currently runs an average 625,000 gallons per day, Gregg said during a workshop in January.
The planned upgrade will allow for about another 600,000 gallons a day, leaving room for growth, the board decided.
However, such extensive upgrades are not without their cost. The total estimated cost of the project comes in at $3 million.
The $2 million cost remaining beyond the EDA grant will come from a USDA Rural Development Agency grant/loan for which the Town has been approved, Forrester reported.
However, he added, the Rural Development program has not yet reported how much of its funding will be in the form of a grant and how much in the form of a low-interest loan.
The Mosheim Board has estimated its monthly payments with the aid of Kathy Walden, president of W&W Engineering.
Gregg reported that no burden, such as increased wastewater payments, should come to Mosheim's residents as a result of the expansion.
US Nitrogen's monthly usage bill alone should cover the loan payments when coupled with the $800,000 the company has pledged to provide upfront to assist with water and sewer upgrades needed in the first phase of the company's integration into the town's systems.
This lump sum will include covering the cost of the pump station that will be needed at the company's facility, as well as the cost of the wastewater line leading out to the US Nitrogen site, Walden has reported.