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For Immediate Release – May 12, 2023
St. Francisville, La. – Nearly 4,500 water customers in West Feliciana Parish will soon benefit from a more efficient, safer water delivery service thanks to a $4.24 million investment in the parish system by the Louisiana Department of Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWRLF) Program, in conjunction with a new federal funding program.
The system is installing an automated water meter reading program and replacing worn waterlines for greater efficiency and improved pressure. The new automated program will also include an online portal for customers to monitor their water usage and to set alerts for high-use thresholds to assist in managing their costs.
West Feliciana Parish government manages Consolidated Waterworks District No. 13, which covers most of the parish, including the Tunica Water System. Only those water systems managed within the Town of St. Francisville and the Angola State Penitentiary are not included.
“This investment will allow our system to better serve our customers and provide a solid base for growing our service in the years to come,” West Feliciana Parish President Kenny Havard said.
DWRLF Program Manager Joel McKenzie said West Feliciana Parish’s water system is the first in Louisiana to receive Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds, which are part of a new $50 billion five-year federal funding initiative for drinking water and wastewater system infrastructure improvement projects across the country.
“Louisiana was recently awarded $26.93 million in year-one funds as part of this program,” McKenzie said. “The West Feliciana Parish project is getting almost $3 million in principal forgiveness through this initiative. The remaining $1.24 million awarded to the parish has been made available as a low interest subsidized loan.”
He noted that the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), which oversees the state’s DWRLF program, closed on the West Feliciana Parish loan on Feb. 9, 2023.
The contract for the work has been awarded to Ferguson Water Works, and construction is set to begin in early July. Contractors anticipate completing the installation of the meters and waterlines within eight months of beginning work.
The parish has acquired additional funds through the state to consolidate District No. 13 and the Tunica Water System into one connected system. The parish anticipates the work beginning this summer and running for at least six months.
LDH Chief Engineer Amanda Ames noted that Congress established the State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund programs in 1996 as part of amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80%) and the individual participating states (20%).
In Louisiana, the program is administered by LDH’s Office of Public Health, which oversees DWRLF. Loans made through this program are low interest and have a maximum 30-year repayment period.
"Safe drinking water is fundamental to community health, and this program helps communities throughout Louisiana keep their water as safe as possible without placing an undue burden in the form of expensive financing,” Ames said.
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