$348M awarded for water, sewer projects around Alabama


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Areas with faltering water and sewer systems in Alabama are getting an influx of cash this month so leaders can repair and upgrade their infrastructure.

The Alabama Department of Environment Management announced today that it’s awarded $348 million in grants and loans in its latest round of funding. And more is on the way in the coming months.

Residents in early three-quarters of the state’s counties will in some way benefit from the grants.

The $348 million includes more than $77 million approved for communities in Alabama’s Black Belt, where the combination of nonpermeable soil, low population density and low incomes creates special challenges.

In addition, ADEM has set aside another $45 million for Black Belt projects, which will bring its investment there to $122 million.

Many of the public water and sewer systems in Alabama have significant repair and upgrade needs, no matter their size. Some residents also lack adequate water or sewer service, adversely affecting their health and quality of life.

“Thanks to Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature, we are making an unprecedented investment in water and sewer systems across Alabama to address longstanding and, in some cases, dire needs that go back decades,” said ADEM Director Lance LeFleur in a statement. “These funds are going to communities with the most critical needs, such as in the Black Belt, that would not otherwise be able to afford the repairs and upgrades on their own. These projects are going to have a significant, positive effect on the lives of millions of Alabamians.”

In a January special session, the Legislature approved spending $225 million out of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act funding to help public water and sewer systems alongside individual residents in need of water or sewer services.

ADEM is supplementing the $225 million with other federal and state funds. The department expects to receive $765 million over the next five years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress last year, and is combining that with $111 million in grants and loans through the State Revolving Fund. All totaled, ADEM expects to commit $473 million this year to water and sewer systems.

Nearly half of the state’s 1,061 public water and sewer systems statewide submitted requests for projects totaling more than $3.2 billion. As of Sept. 14, ADEM had awarded funding to systems in at least 48 of Alabama’s 67 counties.

Funding is going first to communities that have the most critical needs and the least ability to pay for the work on their own.

In addition to projects in the Black Belt and rural areas, water and sewer systems in some of the state’s more populous counties with major needs also received funding, mostly in the form of low-interest loans. Among them are Jefferson, Mobile, Madison, Tuscaloosa, Shelby, Baldwin, Houston, Lee, Morgan, Calhoun and Walker.

If you’re interested in learning more about the program, you can click right here.

Areas around West Alabama getting funding include:

Sewer system projects

  • Greene County:
    • Greene County Water and Sewer Authority: $1 million
  • Pickens County:
    • City of Reform: $1.5 million
  • Sumter County:
    • Town of Cuba: $1.8 million
  • Tuscaloosa County:
    • City of Tuscaloosa: $1.2 million

Drinking water projects

  • Bibb County:
    • Greenpond Water System: $4 million
    • Town of West Blocton: $3 million
  • Greene County:
    • Greene County Water and Sewer Authority: $4.7 million
  • Perry County:
    • City of Marion: $100,000
  • Pickens County:
    • Gordo Water, Gas and Sewer Board: $1.7 million
    • City of Reform: $5.5 million
  • Tuscaloosa County:
    • City of Tuscaloosa: $12 million
  • Walker County:
    • Copeland Ferry Pumpkin Center Water Authority: $84,000
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