Water loans will improve 2 counties’ services

Published 6:00 am Friday, March 18, 2005

Some water customers will soon see an improvement in servicesafter the Lawrence County Water Association and Franklin CountyWater Association secured loans to upgrade their services.

Aubilyn Ballard, president of the Lawrence County association,said the time had come to make the improvements.

“We were getting close to where we couldn’t add any morecustomers,” he said, adding that plans to make the improvements hadbeen in place for five or six years. “We’ve been waiting on fundingfrom the state.”

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The association secured a $365,000 loan through the DrinkingWater State Revolving Fund of the state Department of Health. Theloan has a 20-year payback period and a low interest rate.

The association is currently at 97 percent of its totalcapacity, Ballard said.

Approximately half the association’s 800 customers are served byan elevated water tank east of town and south of Highway 84, hesaid. The other half, however, are served from a pressure tanksystem. The elevated water towers are a vast improvement over thepressure thank system, he said.

“Right now the way it is, if a line bursts they lose all theirwater (because there is no pressure to drive it). This will preventthat,” Ballard said.

To offset that and improve customer and storage limits, theassociation has purchased one acre of land next the Veterans ofForeign Wars post and will install a 100,000 gallon elevated watertank there.

Not only will the tank improve the quality of service, but itwill also lower the customer and storage limit capacity to extendthe number of customers that can be served by the association.Ballard said he had not heard, however, how much of percentage dropthe tank would allow.

Some of the work on the project has already been completed whenthe foundation was poured, Ballard said. The metal work, however,will take some time. He estimated the tank would be operationalaround late fall.

The project also includes approximately a half-mile ofeight-inch line from the well to the new tank, he said.

In Franklin County, the water association received a $121,000loan from the Rural Development division of the U.S. Department ofAgriculture.

The loan will be used for the installation of a new350-gallon-per-minute well, a 100,000-gallon elevated tank and75,000 linear feet of water mains, according to a news releaseissued by Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott and Rep. ChipPickering. These improvements will allow the association to upgradethe system to meet current health requirements and add 16 newhouseholds to the system.

The loan is for 40 years at 4.5 percent interest.

Calls to the Franklin County Water Association this morning werenot answered.