The Office of Rural Community Affairs (ORCA) today announced it has awarded a total of $2,673,417 for water projects in the cities of Josephine (Collin County), Maud (Bowie County), Winnsboro (Franklin County) and Wolfe City (Hunt County), and the counties of Hopkins, Red River, Shelby, Stonewall, Upshur and Van Zandt.
The funding will provide for equipment, expertise, construction, engineering, and related administration and technical assistance costs for the projects. Local volunteers will provide the labor for the projects.
The monies are being awarded from the agency's Texas Community Development Block Grant Program's Texas Small Towns Environment Program (Texas STEP) as follows:
City of Josephine ($350,000): Volunteers shall install 11,000 linear feet of 6-inch PVC water line, 17,000 linear feet of 4-inch PVC line and related valves and tie-ins, 500 cubic yards of embedment material and 11 fire hydrants. This will alleviate the extreme loss of water occurring with the current drought-strained system.
City of Maud ($298,583): Volunteers shall replace deteriorated cast iron line and extend service by installing 4,445 linear feet of 10-inch PVC water main, 7,076 linear feet of 8-inch water line, 10 fire hydrants, valves, fittings, and 35 water service reconnections. This will alleviate the extreme loss of water occurring with the current system and eliminate the use of contaminated individual wells for eight households.
City of Winnsboro ($154,509): Volunteers shall replace leaking corroded steel water lines by installing 4,290 linear feet of 6-inch, 4-inch and 2-inch PVC water line, 140 linear feet of boring and encasement, 41 service transfers, paving repair and appurtenances.
City of Wolfe City ($350,000): Volunteers shall increase the water storage capacity of the lake reservoir by 17.8 million gallons by excavating 88,315 cubic yards of dirt from East and West Lake. Excavated dirt shall be used to repair the dam structure of the West Lake. This will provide a reliable and safe water system alleviating drought-induced shortage occurring with the current system.
Hopkins County ($191,805): Volunteers in the Shady Grove and Pleasant Hill subdivisions shall replace undersized water line with 26,500 linear feet of 6-inch PVC water main, 2,500 linear feet of 4-inch water line, 21 gate valves, 210 linear feet of boring and encasement, testing and sterilization and erosion control and nine service reconnects.
Red River County ($166,980): Volunteers in an unserved area of the County on FM 114 shall access first-time water service by installing 17,000 linear feet of 4-inch PVC water line, 400 linear feet of boring and encasement, eight yard lines, gravel street repair and appurtenances. These improvements will eliminate the use of contaminated individual wells, which are considered unsafe for drinking.
Shelby County ($266,940): Volunteers in the Rolling Hills Subdivision shall install 3,500 linear feet of 4-inch PVC water line, 1,000 linear feet of 3-inch PVC water line, 600 linear feet of 2-inch water line, one interconnect, gate valves, gravel pavement repair, 4,000 linear feet of water service line, and 40 service reconnections. This will alleviate extreme low pressure due to leaky, shallow lines.
Stonewall County ($350,000): Volunteers in the Swenson area shall install 35,000 linear feet of 4-inch transmission water line from ground storage tank in Aspermont to blend with well-water for community of Swenson. This will alleviate the low capacity and high nitrates of current water system wells.
Upshur County ($350,000): Volunteers served by the Sharon Water Supply Corporation shall replace brittle undersized lines by installing 33,800 linear feet of 6-inch water main, 7,560 linear feet of 4-inch water main, 20 linear feet of 3-inch water line, 80 linear feet of 2-inch water line, joints, valves, boring and encasement, 47 customer reconnects, testing and erosion control.
Van Zandt County ($194,600): Volunteers will provide first-time water service to an unserved area of the County through the installation of 23,500 linear feet of 4-inch PVC water line, 890 linear feet of boring and encasement, 21 new service taps and necessary appurtenances. Individual connections will be provided for 11 households. These improvements will eliminate the use of contaminated individual wells, which are considered unsafe for drinking.
"Texas STEP is an innovative approach to solving the water and wastewater needs in rural Texas," explained ORCA Executive Director, Charles S. (Charlie) Stone. "This self-help technique encourages small towns and counties to look within their own communities for resources to bring to the table."
Oralia Cardenas, Director of ORCA's Community Development Division, which administers the program, noted that communities working with Texas STEP grants and its self-help approach are required to show a 40 percent savings on retail construction costs. However, funded projects to date have saved an average of 50 percent on retail construction costs. "STEP saves cities and counties significant amounts of money and maximizes the number of citizens each project benefits," she said.
Funds for ORCA's STEP program come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program.