TRACY CITY, Tenn., Jun 25, 2012 -- Recurring and persistent draught cycles have stretched water resources beyond their limit in the growing southern Cumberland region of Tennessee over the last 10 years. Protracted dry spells also make wastewater treatment even more important, and challenging.
USDA Rural Development State Director Bobby Goode joined local leaders from Tracy City and South Pittsburg at the Big Fiery Gizzard Reservoir today to announce funding for two regional projects to help meet these needs. "Safe, reliable drinking water and wastewater treatment are both vital to the future of every healthy community," said Goode.
"Making these infrastructure investments puts people to work now and lays the foundation for sustainable economic growth in the region through the next generation," he said.
Tracy City Water Works (TCWW) will use USDA loan and grant funding totaling $4,972,000 and a federal Community Development Block Grant of $500,000 to raise the capacity of Big Fiery Creek Reservoir enough to supply an additional 600,000 gallons per day. The improvements will help TCWW better withstand the negative impact of prolonged draught in the area.
An additional water tank will be constructed on the east side of Tracy City and larger water mains installed in several areas to alleviate low pressure issues in some parts of the system. TCWW will also expand the capacity of the existing water treatment facility to 2,000,000 gallons per day.
The crest of the dam will be raised seven feet increasing the storage volume by approximately 176 million gallons. Rock fill from the spillway will be used on the down-stream side of the dam and about 40 acres will be inundated. Boating is prohibited on the reservoir and the few homes near the shore are well beyond the new high water line.
"There is an immediate critical, region-wide, need for more water," said USDA Rural Development Chattanooga Area director David Collett. "The increased storage and treatment capacity, coupled with the regional intra-system conservation and use program being worked on will help several local water utilities meet the growing needs of businesses, farms, institutions and households across the Plateau for the next 20 years."
In Marion County, a USDA loan and grant totaling $6,675,600 and a $500,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission will fund construction of a new wastewater treatment plant. According to local officials, growth and draught-induced geologic changes in the area have made it more cost-effective to replace the older plant with a new facility. By integrating the most current technological advances in waste treatment, officials expect the new plant to meet the needs in South Pittsburg and the rest of the county well into the future.
Rural Development community programs finance construction or improvements to essential services like reliable access to clean water, wastewater treatment, healthcare, education, job training and first responder facilities. Loan-guarantees encourage private lenders to expand the availability of affordable financing in rural communities. Direct loans and grants create sound financial opportunities for local governments to meet essential infrastructure needs.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the economic health of rural communities. During the last three years the agency has assisted at least 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $2.5 Billion through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in southeast Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Chattanooga at 423-756-2239 ext. 2, toll free at 800-342-3149 ext. 1492 or online at www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
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 TDD (615) 783-1397