NEA Public Water Authority Receives $6,700,000 In Federal Funding - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Walnut Ridge, AR

NEA Public Water Authority Receives $6,700,000 In Federal Funding

WALNUT RIDGE - Roy Smith, State Director of USDA/Rural Development was in Walnut Ridge on Thursday, April 19 to announce the partial funding of a water project for the Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority.  Also in attendance to celebrate the occasion were representatives from the offices of Congressman Marion Berry, Senator Blanche Lincoln, Senator Mark Pryor, State Senator Robert Thompson, State Representative JR Rogers and other state and local leaders.  The Congressman and Senators were not able to attend the event due to scheduled voting in Washington D.C.

Mr. Smith presented a check for $6,700,000 to A.J. Henry, Jr., Chairman of the Public Water Authority.  This Public Water Authority was created in early 2003 to develop a long range plan to treat and distribute water to communities in Lawrence County and Northeast Arkansas. The communities to be served initially are Alicia, Hoxie, Walnut Ridge, and a portion of the Lawrence County Regional Water.  Portia plans to hook to the system for a back up supply of water.  It is expected that other water systems in Northeast Arkansas will utilize the system in the future.

The $6,700,000 is being funded from funds from the Rural Utility Service.  The Rural Utility Service is a part of the Department of Agriculture whose funds are administered locally by the Rural Development mission area.  This project is being funded as part of the Nationwide Celebration of Earth Day 2007.

In addition to the USDA/Rural Development funding for the project, the Public Water Authority has made application to the Arkansas Natural Resource Commission for $4,300,000 in loan assistance and to the Delta Regional Authority for $300,000 in grant assistance.  These applications have not yet been approved, but it is anticipated that funding will be forthcoming in the next few months.  Once fully funded it is anticipated that the funding will be as follows:

USDA/Rural Development Loan       $5,000,000

USDA/Rural Development Grant      $1,700,000

ANRC Loan                                      $4,000,000

ANRC Deferred Loan                       $300,000

Delta Regional Authority Grant       $300,000

State of Arkansas Grant                 $200,000

Total Project                                   $11,500,000 

The planned water treatment plant will be capable of producing 3,000,000 gallons of water per day.  The plant will have a clear well for water storage and high pressure pumps to pump water through the large water transmission line to the systems that are purchasing water.  It is expected to be completed by 2009 and that within 3 to 5 years additional communities in this part of the state will want to purchase water from the system. The plant will be designed so that it is easily expandable, so that production can be increased when the demand requires it.  This project will be capable of serving a decent, safe, dependable supply of surface water to a large area of Northeast Arkansas. 


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