Progress Water receives $1.25M grant, $1.9M loan

By HASKEL BURNS,

For the last several years, officials from Progress Community Water Association in Purvis have had maintenance issues with outdated water lines in the community – some of which were originally installed in the late 1960s.

That problem will soon be rectified with the help of a $1.25 million grant and a $1.99 million low-interest loan provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The funds will help cover the cost of line replacement, as well as the addition of a new water tower in the area.

“We’re trying to do away with a lot of older pipe in the ground and update it, and put some bigger-size mains for growth too,” said Danny Morrow, operations manager at the water association. “On Highway 11, leaving Purvis toward Forrest County, we have about 300 to 400 customers in that area that we’re going to build a new tank – a new well, the whole setup there.

“So that’s for future growth and to better serve those customers in that area up there. We probably have three major water line replacement projects that we’re going to do.”

The loan-grant award, which was announced last week by U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, is part of more than $41.3 million in USDA funding for water infrastructure projects in Lamar and Copiah Counties.

“These USDA funds will support water service system upgrades for rural water associations that might not otherwise have access to the capital necessary to provide reliable and safe water to residences and businesses,” said Hyde-Smith, who is a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. “I appreciate that these water associations in Lamar and Copiah counties will benefit from this important USDA Rural Development program.”

Rural cities, towns and water districts that serve fewer than 10,000 residents may apply for Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program support for drinking water, storm water drainage, and waste disposal system projects.

“(These funds) will be great,” Morrow said. “It’s something that’s overdue to be done, and we just haven’t had the funding to do it.

“So it’ll be a great help to us, to upgrade our system and get a lot of that older stuff that’s given us problems out of the ground and out of use. It’ll get our water loss down – we’ll quit losing a lot of water. Most everything was 2-inch lines when they put them in, and they may have had 20 houses on it, and now we may have 60 houses on that line, so it’s just not big enough to carry any more growth.”