Calhoun County Rural Water District-Phase V USDA Rural Development Loan Closing

August 2, 2012


HARDIN – Calhoun Rural Water plans to add 100 water users after signing off on loan documents to complete the fifth and probably final phase of a project begun in 1989.

The board met Thursday with representatives of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, attorneys and project engineers to complete the process to secure two USDA loans to complete funding for the $5.7 million project. The 40-year loans are for $3,570,000 and $760,000 with fixed interest rates of 2.125 percent on the larger loan and 2 percent on the smaller. The rural water district also received grants through the USDA Water and Waste program in the amount of $1 million and $340,000.

“It is the largest project this year funded through the state,” said Dwight Reynolds, area director from USDA Rural Development.

Phase 5 will pick up 100 new residents who were missed in previous extensions of water lines. That will bring the number of county residents served to 1,370. The district will lay an additional 40 miles of water lines, bringing the total area covered to 225 miles. The project also includes upgrading the water plant to increase capacity and digging a new well.

“We’ve been working on Phase Five since 2007,” Reynolds said.

The water district will pick up 13 new customers on Smith Lane and 13 on Hilltop, but the new customers mainly are single residences.

Project engineer Ronnie Paul from Heneghan and Associates explained the work at the plant. Existing filters will be replaced with larger filters and larger pumps. A chemical feed room also will be added.

“We already cover the entire county. The new phase is just filling in some areas,” Reynolds said. “We’ve made a strong effort to reach everyone. In 18 years, we’ve provided water to a lot of residents of the county who were depending on wells and cisterns.”

The rural water district began with discussions in 1989, and Phase 1 was completed in 1994. Some at Thursday’s meeting were around when the project began, including current Board Chairman Gary Rose.

“This will be the last phase; otherwise, we would already be planning the next phase. It takes years of planning,” said Rose, a member of the board for the last 23 years and chairman for five years. “A lot of people have water now that used to haul it. We’ve helped development on Blue Ridge and in Winneberg.”

Attorney Bill Strang and his law partner, Todd Parish, represented the district at the loan closing.

“I was there when it first started. It was a good decision at the beginning to construct their own treatment plant and sink wells,” Strang said. The district decided to build its own facility rather than purchase water. “Board members decided to be independent, and that has kept the price of water reasonable.”

There are three contracts in Phase 5 – one for the water plant work, one for the new water lines and one for the wells – but all three must be completed within a year. Work is scheduled to begin Sept. 1.

Bobette Dunphy from Rural Development was there to collect the signatures for the loan closing and finalize documents. When the contracts were signed, she asked District Secretary/Treasurer Justine Schulte to check the bank account.

“The money is in,” Schulte told the board.