CHIPLEY - At a special meeting Thursday, Chipley City Council learned more about the nearly 200-acre property that could be used to dispose its effluent water.

Bill Perry with engineering and development group Mott McDonald Florida presented the council with a description of and funding options for the $13.4 million project, which he described as "encouraging," though "a long time coming."

"This proposed project will take you will into the future," he said, anticipating up to 50 years in the future.

With the capacity to dispose of 1.2 million gallons of effluent per day, Perry's recommendation was to approve the property located off of State Park Road. The waste would travel about 12 miles out of Chipley to the site. Currently, the city disposes about 600,000 gallons per day on average.

Perry said the site is ideal for constructability. His group had originally checked 17 other sites for land application, however, only five had potential but the City could not negotiate offers with the landowners.

From that point, he said, county and chamber officials suggested to look south of the county. Twenty sites were located and several "looked attractive," but after investigation, they were found to be in low-lying areas.

Finally, nine sites were found south of Wausau, from which the single one was chosen.

The property was available for sale at a reasonable cost per acre and testing revealed "that the site is very conducive to land application and would take care of immediate needs - well into the future."

Perry also said the property was generally fit for standard environmental parameters and does not pose a serious threat to local waters and animal species.

In terms of financial feasibility, Perry presented two funding scenarios that both consist of a combination of applying for loans and grant or principal forgiveness. In the first one, the City could accept $3.75 million in loans and the remainder in grants; the other, $5 million in loans.

Mary Gavin from Rural Development also presented an option of up to 75% in grants that would essentially help keep rates low and to curb energy costs.

While there was no vote involved with the presentation, the council had few questions about the site itself, proceeding to approve resolution No. 19-11 - Cleanwater State Revolving Fund Facility Plan - for public hearing.

In other business, the council unanimously approved resolution No. 19-12 and 13, which relate to Community Development Block Grant compliance policies. The council also approved resolution No. 19-14, amending the FY 2017-18 budget, as well as worker grants from CareerSource Chipola.

The final order of business was the approval of Florida Department of Environmental Protection Consent Order - OGC File No. 19-1093 which addresses domestic wastewater issues related to the Chipley water treatment plant and issues a number of penalties and fees the City incurred as a result of said violations.

Look for a detailed story on this order in an upcoming issue of Washington County News.