MEMPHIS, Mo. -- The city of Memphis is receiving a loan of more than $4.6 million to upgrade its wastewater treatment system along with $175,000 in funding to buy a new garbage truck.
The financial assistance was announced by USDA Rural Development during a news conference Wednesday at Memphis City Hall.
Leann Gleason, the agency's acting director, said the city has been awarded a $4.641 million "water and waste disposal loan." The money will be used to upgrade the city's wastewater treatment system from a discharge to a no-discharge system to comply with new Missouri Department of Natural Resources regulations.
Some of the money will be used to make improvements to the city's sewage collection system.
"Having a sanitary and up-to-date sewer system is very important to the livelihood of any community," Gleason said.
"The city of Memphis is taking proactive steps to make improvements to their wastewater treatment system for long-term use. We are proud to be in partnership with the city to assure they have a system in place to preserve and improve the quality of life for the community."
Mayor William Reckenberg told The Herald-Whig that obtaining a low-interest loan from USDA was a vital step in moving forward with the project.
"It's huge. We couldn't do it without it," Reckenberg said. "It allows us to get a bond passed and move forward with these projects because the EPA has been cracking down on us so hard."
Also during the news conference, Gleason announced that a $150,000 loan and a $25,000 grant were awarded to the Memphis Community Betterment Organization to buy a second garbage truck for the city.
Previously, the city's garbage crews had to drive the department's only truck more than 180 miles round trip to empty it at a landfill, which took the truck out of service for extended periods.
By having a second truck, Gleason said, the city will be able to better serve residents of the community and take on some additional customers.
"Rural communities don't always have the resources to have extensive garbage collection services," he said.
"The city of Memphis had just one garbage truck, and the trips to the landfills took hours round trip, causing some wear and tear on the truck they had."
Reckenberg said aldermen played a big role in getting USDA Rural Development assistance with the wastewater treatment and garbage truck projects.
"Neither one of these projects would have moved forward if it hadn't been for the Board of Aldermen being so active in pursuing this and asking all the right questions," he said.