The Louisiana Department of Health (DHH) recently awarded an $800,000 loan to the Town of Jackson through the State's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund. This low-interest subsidized loan will help improve infrastructure for the water system.
LDH and Town of Jackson officials closed the loan on March 14, 2016. The proposed project involves the construction of a new water well to replace an existing water well, which will be abandoned due to water quality issues. The funds will also be used to install a new emergency generator system as well as a new chlorination storage and feed room at the new well site.
"The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund provides an affordable way to improve infrastructure and continue to deliver safe, high-quality drinking water," LDH State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry said. "Safe drinking water is crucial to community and family health, and this program helps water systems throughout Louisiana bring their infrastructure up to date and keep residents safe and healthy."
Loans made through this program have low interest rates and repayment periods capped at 20 years. Both public and privately-owned community water systems and nonprofit, non-community water systems are eligible to apply for loans. Once a loan has been approved, water systems can use the funds to make necessary improvements. As the systems pay back the loans, the principal and interest are used to make more money available for loan to other communities. All loan projects are approved based upon a priority ranking system. Among other factors, projects that address the most serious risks to human health and those that ensure compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act are given the highest priority.
"Building another well is a critical need for our community," Town of Jackson Mayor Charles Coleman said. "This loan program has allowed us to continue to meet the water needs for Jackson residents."
Congress established State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWRLF) Programs in 1996 as part of the amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the individual participating states. In Louisiana, the Fund is administered by the LDH Office of Public Health. The Fiscal Year 2015 Drinking Water Capitalization Grant allows for additional subsidies in the form of principal forgiveness of up to 30 percent of a loan's principal, with a cap of $1,125,000 of principal forgiveness per project. Through this special provision, the DWRLF will provide additional subsidization in the form of principal forgiveness in the amount of $240,000 for this particular loan project.
"By providing below-market rate loans, this fund helps ensure an affordable way for Louisiana's communities to improve their water systems and comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act," said Jennifer Wilson, program manager for LDH's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund.
For more information about the program, contact Jennifer Wilson at 225-342-7499.