Yuba Water approves $4.2m in loans for infrastructure and biomass plant
Two loans, one for $2.6 million to the City of Wheatland and a second for $1.55 million to Olivehurst Public Utility District will be used to complete a unified grant application by the two entities to combine their water and wastewater systems in the south part of the county. The loan from Yuba Water is expected to make the project more competitive for potentially tens of millions in grant funding through a State Water Resources Control Board wastewater regionalisation program targeted toward disadvantage communities.
“This project is truly a game changer for Wheatland and Yuba County and exemplifies what’s possible when we all work together toward the same common goals,” said Board Chairman Gary Bradford, whose district includes the area of the county where upgrades are planned.
Yuba Water previously provided grants and loans to Wheatland and OPUD to complete the design and engineering of a modern, combined regional wastewater system. In addition to accommodating current and anticipated growth in Wheatland, the improvements will also protect groundwater quality in the region.
In another action, Yuba Water approved a third loan of $70,000 to the Camptonville Community Partnership to purchase 100 additional acres of land adjacent to the property where it plans to build a three-megawatt forest biomass plant and business centre. The planned biomass plant would process biowaste from nearby forest restoration projects and use it to generate clean electricity, creating a regional market for forest waste material.
The loan and land purchase will allow the partnership to have full site control of the property, which is a requirement of many external grant programmes, including a $2 million grant that the partnership is currently applying for through the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
“Building a biomass centre in Yuba County ties in perfectly with the agency’s ongoing forest health efforts,” said vice-chairman Randy Fletcher, whose district encompasses the foothills. “When built, this project will be critical to our efforts to reduce the risk of a destructive megafire in our foothills.”
Owning the land will reduce insurance costs, as well as allow the partnership to plan, prepare and market the potential biomass business centre to its full potential. Once the biomass facility and associated infrastructure are successfully built, Yuba Water’s loan would then turn into grant funds.