Three cities receive loans for water projects

Water projects in three Minnesota cities will move forward with help from $20.6 million in federal stimulus dollars and state loan funds.

Big Lake will receive the largest chunk --- $15.5 million --- to improve its wastewater treatment plant, in part by providing more efficient processing of biosolid waste. The project, which is getting a $13.5 million loan and $2 million in principal forgiveness, will also be eligible for additional money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Green Project Reserve.

The other cities receiving funding are Oronoco and Red Lake Falls, which will both get loans and principal forgiveness. In Oronoco, the money will be used to replace residential wells in part of the city with a water distribution system. Red Lake Falls officials plan to construct a water treatment plant and two wells with the funding.

The state Department of Employment and Economic Development announced the projects on Thursday.

Officials said $7.2 million of the $20.6 million comes from the federal recovery package.

Overall, the state has received $107 million to help 40 communities improve wastewater, sanitary sewer and drinking water systems, DEED officials said.

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