SPRING CITY, TN., Jul 16, 2013 -- As a community grows so does the need for clean drinking water. Watts Bar Utility District (WBUD) was formed in 1987 and took on the task of providing that service for customers in Rhea County. The half-million gallon water tank, initially constructed in 1974 by Chicago Bridge and Iron, began to need some repairs as did the aging water lines throughout the service area.
In late 2008, WBUD began taking the steps to meet the repair needs by entering into a partnership with USDA Rural Development (RD) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The project would entail a complete overhaul of the tank and replace 162,040 linear feet of waterlines. The tank repair has been completed and the utility district is finishing the final line replacement this summer.
"Safe, reliable water is vital to the future of every healthy community," said USDA RD State Director Bobby Goode.. "Making these infrastructure investments puts people to work now and it lays the foundation for improved public safety and sustainable economic growth in this area through the next generation."
A USDA low-interest loan of $2 million was combined with a $500,000 grant and $380,000 Community Block Development Grant from HUD to sandblast and paint the tower, complete pipeline repairs in the surrounding area near the tower and perform maintenance and replacement on water lines throughout the service area.
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 four years the agency has assisted more than 1.5 million Tennessee families and businesses in 158 communities, investing more than $3.3 Billion into local economies through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
USDA has already undertaken historic efforts since 2009 to save more than $700 million in taxpayer funds through targeted, common-sense budget reductions. These reductions have put USDA in a better position to carry out its mission, while implementing the across-the-board budget reductions mandated under terms of the Budget Control Act in a fair manner that causes as little disruption as possible.
For more information on Rural Development programs available in Southeast Tennessee contact the Rural Development Area Office in Chattanooga at 423-756-2239, toll free at 1-800-342-3149 extension 1492, or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/tn.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).