By Mariamne Beuscher, communications internPalmer AK depot

The city of Palmer, Alaska will begin much needed upgrades to its wastewater system after receiving $8.3 million in funds from U. S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development (USDA-RD).

The city will install a moving bed biofilm reactor (MBBR) to improve its wastewater system. For roughly the last 10 years, the wastewater treatment facility has operated with a provision discharge permit.

In operation since the 1950s, the treatment facility began experiencing a rise in ammonia levels after the Matanuska River began moving its main channel away from the facility starting in the 1980s.

The city filed for a USDA-RD grant application in October 2016 after working with state and federal officials to develop a plan to alleviate the ammonia problem. Timely approval of the application will allow the project to get underway this year and completion is expected within 2.5 years.

USDA-RD Alaska has invested more than $2 billion into Alaska’s rural communities since 2009.

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