BATON ROUGE—The Louisiana Department of Health Office of Public Health has awarded a $900,000 loan to Colyell Community Water Association, Inc. in Livingston Parish to help the water system improve the community’s drinking water. DHH’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund program provided the loan.
The loan amount will be used to install 18,184 feet of six-inch water main (underground pipe) in three different areas of the Colyell Community Water Association service area. This will increase water pressure and quality of service to these areas, as well as ensure the ability to provide customers with treated water during peak hours of water demand.
It is the second loan awarded to this water system. LDH awarded $948,600 to the Colyell Community Water Association in 2002.
Congress established State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Programs in 1996 as part of the amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent). It is administered in Louisiana by the LDH Office of Public Health. Loans made through this program are low interest and have a maximum 20-year repayment period. All water systems are eligible to apply for loans: public or privately owned community systems, or non-profit, non-community systems.
Once a loan is approved, water systems can use the funds to make needed improvements. As the systems pay back the loans, the principal and interest are used to make more money available for other communities that have drinking water needs. All loan projects are approved based upon a priority ranking system. Among other factors, projects that address the most serious risks to human health and those that ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act are given the highest priority.
Noting that it is imperative that all Louisiana residents have access to safe drinking water, LDH Secretary Alan Levine said, “This program helps ensure that communities have a source of dependable and affordable funding so their water treatment facilities may benefit from the latest and most modern technology.”
“The purpose of the fund is to provide states with a financial mechanism to make below-market-rate loans to drinking water systems for infrastructure improvements. These improvements assist the systems in complying with the Safe Drinking Water Act and help protect public health,” said T. Jay Ray, program manager for the Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund.
Other communities that received loans in the last year include the West Winnsboro Water System in Franklin Parish, the United Water System in St. Landry and St. Martin parishes, Buckeye Water Works District #50, Inc. in Rapides Parish, Water Works District #2 in Natchitoches Parish, and the Town of Slaughter in East Feliciana Parish.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visithttp://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.