April 25, 2007 Edition

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Public Water Authority
receives partial funding


Roy Smith, state director of USDA Rural Development, presents A.J. Henry, chairman of the Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority, with a check for $6.7 million dollars for an upcoming water project.

Amber Adams
Staff Writer

Roy Smith, state director of USDA Rural Development, announced the partial funding of a water project for the Northeast Arkansas Public Water Authority last Thursday. During the public meeting, A.J. Henry, chairman of the NEAPWA, was presented with a check for $6,700,000.

State Sen Robert Thompson, State Rep JR Rogers were also in attendance, along with representatives from Congressman Marion Berry and Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor.

"This is a fitting example of how federal, state and local leaders can work together to make critical investments in our infrastructure," Pryor said in a written statement. "This funding helps address an essential need for the residents of Lawrence County."

The Public Water Authority was created in early 2003 to develop a long-range plan to treat and distribute water to communities in Lawrence County and other areas of northeast Arkansas.

The communities that will initially be served include Alicia, Hoxie, Walnut Ridge and a portion of the Lawrence County Regional Water. Portia plans to hook to the system for a backup supply of water.

In addition to this funding, the PWA has applied for a loan from the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission for $4,300,000, which was also awarded on Thursday. A $300,000 grant from the Delta Regional Authority has also been applied for.

"A lot of effort, a lot of time and a lot of work have gone into this project," Henry said, "but we have found a logical solution to our problem."

The new treatment plant will be capable of producing 3,000,000 gallons of water per day and have an onsite well for water storage. The plant will replace outdated treatment systems, many of which are more than 40 years old and rely on ground water produced from shallow wells. The water treatment plant, which will serve approximately 8,000, is expected to be in full production by summer of 2009.

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