Lexington, KY, Nov 15, 2011 -- Federal Agricultural officials will be in Pulaski County today to break ground on a project to expand the Somerset’s water treatment plant.
Thomas G. Fern, State Director for Rural Development, said funding for the project was made available though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Through Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program, the city was able to obtain a low-interest loan in the amount of $14 million and a grant for $6 million.
The original water treatment plant was constructed in 1956 and has undergone several expansions and upgrades in the years since but because of regulation changes and age is nearing the end of its useful life.
Fern further stated that Rural Development’s support and assistance for infrastructure projects is indicative of our commitment to ensure rural communities can create jobs, attract businesses and provide essential services to their residents.
Officials with the city of Somerset are to be applauded for taking the initiative to ensure they can provide adequate water service to its many customers in Pulaski County, while also planning for their future needs and enhancing their opportunities for economic development, said Fern.
Reasons for the improvements include rising demand on the plant, requests for new changes and new regulations. The Division of Water requested that the plant change its operational mode to one treatment type because there are currently two separate treatment processes operating parallel. New regulations are greatly impacting water treatment processes and Somerset hopes to continue to maintain a standard in excess of water quality requirements. The improvements were necessary to provide adequate supply of treated water for 5,643 customers within Somerset City Limits as well as the water Somerset provides to other cities, which include Science Hill, Eubank, Western Pulaski Water District and Southeastern Water Association.
Funds will be used to increase the capacity of the existing plant from 10 to 16 million gallons per day and will include other improvements and upgrades to the plant. The new facilities will include the Ultrafiltration Drinking Water Treatment System, membrane treatment, and appurtenant equipment as provided by GE Water & Process Technologies.
These changes will lower installation and operating costs, allow remote monitoring, assure high quality treatment, have a high operating efficiency, have a low waste disposal, and have a minimal space requirement.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of 6,100 employees located in 500 state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $142 billion in loans and loan guarantees.
Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Programs (WEP) provide loans, grants and loan guarantees for drinking water, sanitary sewer, solid waste and storm drainage facilities in rural areas and cities and towns of 10,000 or less. Public bodies and non-profit organizations may qualify for assistance. Rural Development also makes grants to nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance and training to assist rural communities with their water, wastewater, and solid waste problems. For more information, go to http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/UWEP_HomePage.html.
President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It was designed to jumpstart the nation's economy, create or save millions of jobs and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act included measures to modernize our nation's infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief and protect those in greatest need.
More information about USDA’s Recovery Act efforts is available at www.usda.gov/recovery. More information about the Federal government’s efforts on the Recovery Act is available at www.recovery.gov.
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, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272(voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).