STILLWATER, Okla., Mar 02, 2011 -- After being awarded over $4,000,000 in a grant/loan combination through the Water and Waste Direct Loan and Grant Program, Konawa residents are getting a new sewer treatment system. Funding for this project is supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The current system was built in the 1930s, and has had significant issues for the last 30 years.
"It has outlived its usefulness and is nearly inoperable," Rita LoPresto, Konawa city manager said. "Parts are no longer available and there is no way to Band-Aid it any further."
Konawa is a rural community of less than 1,500 in population, located between Shawnee, Seminole, and Ada; the grant/loan is being used to build a new sewer treatment plant.
Currently, the city is in the process of conducting surveys and doing some of the engineering footwork. LoPresto said she estimates it will be another three to six months before they have completed the necessary requirements as set forth by the USDA.
Once the construction is underway, it should take 12 months to complete the project, leaving the community with a reliable sewer system.
"As long as the existing plant holds out there shouldn’t be any inconvenience to the residents (during construction)," LoPresto said.
Additionally, community members will have increased job opportunity. A full-time plant manager and lab operator will be hired.
"The benefits of the new plant will allow us to treat the raw sewage with a plant that will be more effective and better able to handle the volume that goes through the plant," LoPresto said. "The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will not allow any additional development in the city without replacing the plant. Additionally, the operational costs should be reduced with the new plant."
According to Ryan McMullen, State Director of USDA Rural Development, Konawa is seeking additional assistance through USDA to address issues they are having with their water supply.
"USDA offers many programs to assist small communities to meet the needs of their residents," said McMullen. "For Konawa, installing this new sewer system and working toward providing a safe, reliable source of drinking water are the priorities that USDA Rural Development programs are helping to address."
Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Water and Waste Direct Loan and Grant program provides loans, guaranteed loans, and grants for water, sewer, storm water, and solid waste disposal facilities in cities and towns up to 10,000 people and rural areas with no population limits. Fund can be used to construct, repair, modify, expand, or otherwise improve water supply and distribution systems and waste collection and treatment systems, including storm drainage and solid waste disposal facilities. Certain other costs related to development of the facility may also be covered. Projects funded through the program will enhance the quality of life in rural America.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).