Dublin is making slow progress toward repairing its problematic waste water management system, but will soon clear the last hurdle of a hefty grant application that could provide long-term solutions.

For the last several months, city staff and consultants have been working on a United States Department of Agriculture grant application and bringing various parts of the city into compliance with federal grant requirements.

The only remaining requirement left to meet is securing a 2.2 acre easement on private property to serve as a buffer zone around the existing waste water treatment plant on South Liberty Street, which Public Works Director Cory James expects to have early next week. Others requirements the city has already met include handicap accessibility improvements to City Hall and floodplain studies, among others.

The sewer replacement project is estimated to cost $11 million and includes other water and waste water system improvements. Dublin is uncertain how much, if any, USDA will award to the project.

USDA splits its monetary award between low-interest loans and grants. The loan would be issued for a 40-year term at 3.5 percent interest. City officials are uncertain when USDA will announce its decision.

Even fully funded, the USDA grant would only cover 20 sections of sewer in the worst condition, however, the entire sewer needs an overhaul.

The city is also applying for a Community Block Development Grant to replace two of the worst sections. Sewer lines under Post Oak and Myrtle Streets frequently back up and flood into the streets and need to be entirely replaced.

Officials are hopeful, but aren't entirely optimistic about the CBDG grant since the city received $260,000 from the same grant last year.

No matter how much assistance Dublin receives from other agencies to make necessary repairs, the city must also spend its own money on the sewer far into the future.

"The city will have to continue funding sewer line replacements so that we don't fall into the same problem 25 years down the road," James said.