As local water infrastructures age around the country, more and more financing options are becoming available to cities from both the state and federal level for renovations.
The city of Russell, Kan. - with a population of about 4,300 people - has just received a $388,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the renovation of its drinking water system.
The purpose of the project is to replace old, deteriorated cast iron pipes with new plastic ones. “This will eliminate numerous leaks that have occurred in the past 20 years. Such leaks can cause low water pressure and introduce contaminants to the water, which is a potential risk to public health,” said the EPA.
The construction will include two sizes of waterline pipes (six-inch, stretching 5,400 feet, and eight-inch, stretching 4,500 feet), as well as water valves, and fire hydrants.
The EPA grant will only partially cover the construction project, which it’s estimated will cost about $843,500 to complete. The project is expected to be completed by the fall of 2012.
In 2005, the U.S. Conference of Mayors sent out a survey concerning water infrastructure investments, which was responded to by 414 cities. The survey results confirmed that rehabilitating aging water infrastructure was a top priority among the responding cities.
“The survey results also indicated that a significant amount of major capital investments in water infrastructure took place between 2000 and 2004,” said the conference, with more investments expected for the future.
At the time, only a small percentage of surveyed cities (about five percent) said they preferred to seek grants over the use of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) loan program.
The SRF loan program was identified in the survey as “the third most frequently used water project financing tool when used in conjunction with other forms of financing such as bonds as pay-as-you-go approaches.”
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