Baton Rouge – The Department of Health Office of Public Health has awarded a $6 million loan to Ascension Water Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Baton Rouge Water Works Company.  This loan will help to accelerate the company's construction of its water and distribution system that will greatly improve the quality of water available to many residents in Ascension Parish. 

"Ascension Water Company now can improve its water system, which will result in improved drinking water for the community," said LDH Secretary David Hood. "The money will be used to install a new water storage tank with booster pumps and to improve the distribution system.” 

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The funds are provided through OPH’s Water Revolving Loan Fund Program. Congress established this fund in 1996 as part of the Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. 

Louisiana and other states are eligible to receive federal grants annually from EPA as long as the states provide the necessary matching funds of 20 percent on an annual basis. Upon approval of the loans, communities borrow from the fund. The principal and interest that are paid back to the fund allow more money to become available for other communities to improve drinking water systems. These loans are approved on a priority system. Projects that address the most serious risk to human health and projects to ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act are given highest priority. 

"Ascension Water Company is pleased to be able to participate in the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program, which offers loans at below market rates,” said Ascension Water Company President, Eugene H. Owen. “This loan will help our company in accelerating the construction of distribution lines necessary to consolidate the remaining existing isolated water systems into a central transmission and distribution system.  These isolated systems are presently served by individual shallow wells, frequently lacking standby emergency power.  Ascension Water Company, through this central water system, will provide multiple sources of water of excellent quality, major storage facilities, increased pressures and emergency standby power.” 

Loans made through this program are low interest and have a maximum 20-year repayment period. The systems eligible for the program are public and privately owned community systems and nonprofit, non-community water systems.

"The purpose of the fund is to provide states with a financial mechanism to make loans to drinking water systems for infrastructure improvements. These improvements assist the systems in complying with the Safe

Drinking Water Act and protect public health," said T. J. Ray, program manager for the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund. 

For more information about the program, please contact T. J. Ray at the Office of Public Health (225) 765-5075. 

PHOTO AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST. Please contact DHH’s Bureau of Communications and Inquiry Services at (225) 342-4742 to obtain a photograph of a sanitarian using one of the devices in the field. 

SUGGESTED CAPTION: Public Health Officials present Ascension Parish Water Company with a check at the water loan closing. Far Left- T. Jay Ray, Manager, LDH-OPH Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program; Ray Cornelius, Attorney, Adams and Reese, LLP; Jennifer Meyer, Loan Coordinator, LDH-OPH Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program; David Wolf, Attorney, Adams and Reese, LLP;

Far right- Gene Owens, President, Ascension Water Company.