FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Communities Receive Recovery Funds for Safe Drinking Water Projects
(Lincoln, Neb.) Gov. Dave Heineman today announced the distribution of more than $19 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for upgrades to public water systems. Funding decisions were made in consultation with the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee.
“This is an ambitious plan to stimulate the economy, help public water systems comply with federal and state regulations and continue to provide safe drinking water to Nebraskans,” Gov. Heineman said. “We are essentially taking $19.5 million and leveraging it to provide $49.5 million for protecting water and creating jobs throughout our state.”
The ARRA provides approximately $19.5 million in new, one-time funding, which will be combined with $30 million in existing funds from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. Funding will be administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Division of Public Health to provide financial assistance to communities.
Twenty-five percent of the $49.5 million will be available in the form of grants to communities. The remaining 75 percent will be issued to communities as low-interest loans at 3 percent.
The base is made up of EPA grants matched with state funds and also repayments from Nebraska communities that have borrowed money from the Fund. This fund was established by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to provide financial assistance to communities in the construction of drinking water infrastructure.
DHHS ranked the state’s public water supply needs using the fund’s established ranking system, with some modifications made to direct funds to projects that were further along in the planning stages. Bypass criteria has been developed that would re-allocate funding to another community in the event a project is not shovel-ready.
The ARRA requires 20 percent of recovery funds go to water efficiency projects, such as water meter installation. These projects require public input and therefore could change based on a community’s willingness to participate.
Communities identified to receive new water meters include: Alda, Bellwood, Byron, Dalton, Henry, Minatare, Oconto, Osceola, Phillips, and Shelby.
Communities identified for drinking water projects include:
Alliance will construct new wells or a water treatment plant to remedy an arsenic issue.
Auburn will construct a new water treatment plant, wells and a transmission main to remedy potential ground water under the direct influence of surface water issue.
Bayard will replace existing and install new water meters.
Bennet will replace existing water mains.
Bridgeport will construct new wells or water treatment plant to remedy uranium issue.
Friend will construct a new well to remedy a nitrate issue and replace undersized water mains.
Gresham will construct a new well to remedy a nitrate issue.
Hickman will construct new water treatment plant and replace water mains to remedy iron, manganese and coliform issues.
North Platte will construct a new well field and transmission mains to remedy a uranium issue.
Omaha will construct a new contact basin to remedy a ground water under the direct influence of surface water issue.
Pleasant Dale will construct a new well or water treatment to remedy a nitrate issue.
Schuyler will construct new wells to remedy uranium and nitrate issues.
Stuart will construct a new well to supply a proposed rural water district to remedy nitrate issue.
Sutherland will construct a new well field and transmission mains to remedy nitrate and uranium issues.
Wymore will construct new wells or a water treatment plant to remedy ground water under the direct influence of surface water issue.
York will construct a new well field and transmission mains to remedy nitrate issues and improve the local distribution system.