Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that a critical improvement project to the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Plant, damaged in 2011 by Tropical Storm Lee, will move forward thanks to a $30.32 million loan package from the state for plant repairs, improvements and protection against future storms, including a flood wall around the plant.
“We are continuing to build back critical infrastructure that serves Binghamton and Johnson City so that the region is stronger and better than before,” Governor Cuomo said. “This funding will allow construction to begin on a new flood wall and other critical improvements to this sewage treatment plant which serves 120,000 residents in the region.”
The zero-interest loans for Binghamton-Johnson City is part of Governor Cuomo’s initiative to assist communities that are awaiting federal assistance for wastewater infrastructure damaged in recent storms and floods.
The $30.32 million financing, which will ultimately include $24.8 million in interest-free loans, for the City of Binghamton and the Village of Johnson City, joint owners of the sewage treatment plant, was approved by the Board of Directors of the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. (EFC). EFC is the arm of Governor Cuomo’s administration that provides financial assistance to communities to afford new or improved infrastructure through low-cost loans.
“With this low-cost financing from New York State, local ratepayers in Binghamton and Johnson City will save more than $1 million compared to the cost of borrowing on their own,” said EFC President and CEO Matthew Driscoll.
The loan package announced today is expected to be the first of two rounds of financial assistance by EFC. In the initial phase, the Binghamton-Johnson City Sewage Treatment Plant will receive a total of $30.32 million to pay for various repairs, including the treatment plant walls that collapsed in 2011. In addition, the loans will advance funds to Binghamton and Johnson City for design costs in support of the installation of a flood wall to protect the treatment plant from future floods.
In September of 2011, flooding from Tropical Storm Lee inundated the Binghamton-Johnson City treatment plant, resulting in a substantial loss of waste treatment. That storm followed the discharge of untreated waste into the Fuller Hollow Creek and the Susquehanna River after a wall collapsed at the plant earlier that year.
The plant serves 120,000 customers.
“Our community is still recovering from the devastating flood of 2011,” said Senator Tom Libous. “I’m thrilled and thankful to see the Governor providing more help to our community. These loans will do much to help repair and improve the Binghamton-Johnson City Sewage Treatment Plant.”
“I’m very glad Governor Cuomo has recognized that the Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage facility needed this type of assistance,” said Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo. “Not only will this funding help the repairs to be done in a more timely fashion, but it saves my constituents the burden of paying interest on the loans that would have otherwise funded this project.”
In addition to the bridge loans available for communities hit by recent storms and floods, EFC is also accepting applications for the New York State Storm Mitigation Loan Program which will provide $340 million in interest-free loans and grants for flood-protection projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities in the 14 counties impacted by Superstorm Sandy.