The Louisiana Department of Health awarded a $2.1 million loan to Waterworks District No. 1 of Avoyelles Parish through the State's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund. This low-interest subsidized loan will benefit Avoyelles Parish residents by enabling improvements to the drinking water system.
"The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund helps improve infrastructure and allows the system to continue to deliver high-quality drinking water to the residents of Avoyelles Parish," Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry said. "Access to clean, safe drinking water is paramount to the health of our state's residents."
LDH and parish officials closed the loan on Dec. 22, 2015. The proposed project involves the reconstruction of the Yellow Bayou Pump Station, which will include a new pump station building, new supply pumps, a new ground water storage tank, a new water well and a new chlorination facility. The funds will also be used to purchase and install a new automatic meter reading system, which will include new hardware, software, and the automated water meters. The water system may seek additional funding at a later time for additional phases of the proposed project, including the reconstruction or demolition of other pump stations, installation of water treatment facilities and water distribution system improvements.
"The new water well we will build with this loan will provide a more dependable water supply to our customers," David Bordelon, Waterworks District No. 1 of Avoyelles Parish (WW1AP) Board President said. "We will also be able to provide more reliable and more constant pressure to our customers with the installation of new variable frequency pumps."
Congress established the State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Programs in 1996 through an amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the individual participating states. Louisiana's program is administered by DHH. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Drinking Water Capitalization Grant allowed for an additional subsidy to water systems in the form of principal forgiveness. Loans given in FY 2015 can have up to 30 percent of their principal forgiven, with a cap of $1,125,000 per project. Through this special provision, the DWRLF will forgive $630,000 for this particular loan project, meaning the water system will not have to pay that amount to the DWRLF.
Both public and privately owned community water systems as well as nonprofit, non-community water systems are eligible to apply for loans made through this program. 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.
"This fund provides an affordable way for communities across the state to improve their drinking water systems and comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act," said Jennifer Wilson, program manager for LDH's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund.
For more information about the program, contact Jennifer Wilson at (225) 342-7499.