Effingham Daily News
EJ Water Co-Op will be able to provide softer water for its users thanks to a drought-related reduced interest rate.
“The plant was built in 1993,” co-op CEO Bill Teichmiller said. “This will let us renovate and update. We should be able to go from one million gallons a day to 1.5 million gallons a day.”
While the grant and reduced interest rate will allow the facility to expand, Teichmiller said that it would also allow for further water treatment and water softening for all of the company’s customers.
Teichmiller said the renovation, which will include a full redesign of the company’s facility, should be completed by the summer of 2014. He expects customers will see only a slight increase in their bills.
“They’re going to have soft water,” he said. “It might cost a dollar or $1.10 extra, but that’s not too bad. The feedback from a lot of our members is that it’s a great thing. It certainly beats the cost of salt and a softener.”
This summer’s drought prompted the need for extra man hours, as well as increased water use among customers, which led to the reduced interest rate. Congressman John Shimkus released a statement last month on the need to prevent further drought related issues.
“The drought forced the plant to run near capacity and in excess of Environmental Protection Agency guidelines, which puts it at risk of facing sanctions,” Shimkus said. “This funding will help avoid such issues in the future.”
Teichmiller said the grant and reduced rate are a relief after the co-op pumped more than 2.7 million gallons on July 6, the most water it has ever had to provide.
“We got a call from a hog provider who went from needing 15,000 gallons to 30,000 gallons in one day,” he said. “That’s a huge thing. In the future, we’ll have the resources to deal with that.”