WATERLOO, Iowa — The Waterloo City Council on Tuesday approved a plan to spend $73 million over 15 years to improve the central Iowa city’s water system.

The council unanimously approved the plan, which was required to comply with a 2015 federal consent decree.

Chief Financial Officer Michelle Weidner told The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier that the city likely will borrow from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to finance the project and pay off the loans through sewer user fees.

“We have been adjusting sewer rates to provide funding for the projects that were ready to go to construction,” she said.

Weidner said a draft budget shows the city will need to increase annual sewer fees by 5 percent over the next several years to make debt payments.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Natural Resources enforced strict requirements on the city. The agencies alleged that Waterloo was in violation of the federal Clean Water Act by failing to fix sewer issues that led to untreated sewage overflowing into streams and backing up into basements.

Under the city’s new master plan, the initial phase will direct $18 million toward projects over the next five years, which will help Waterloo meet the consent decree. The remaining $55 million will be used through 2032 to maintain the city’s sanitary sewer collection system.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com