Water Quality Boosts Local Economy in Tishomingo, OklahomaThu, 04 Sep 2014 15:09:03 CDT
In the next 90 days, the Tishomingo Municipal Authority is projected to complete the most comprehensive water and wastewater infrastructure repairs and improvements in the history of this rural south-central Oklahoma community.
The improvement projects, which were planned for several years, include the replacement of deteriorated components of the town’s wastewater disposal plant, the replacement of 3 miles of sewer line, the installation of a generator to be used in the case of power interruption, the replacement of manholes and the addition of a vacuum jetter for the city’s wastewater system. Further improvements to the community’s water system include enhancements to existing water lines, the installation of 8 miles of water line ranging in size from 6 feet to 14 feet to alleviate low water pressure, replacement of high service pumps and the construction of a 100,000-gallon elevated water storage tank.
These extensive enhancements have been made possible through a grant and loan package through the U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development, as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Two grants totaling nearly $2.5 million and $4.5 million in loans through special funding made available through the Recovery Act were coupled with an additional $1.74 million in loans and technical assistance in regular program funding from USDA Rural Development. Additionally, the Chickasaw Nation provided a $300,000 grant specifically to assist with the construction of the water tower.
“We are an old Oklahoma community, and our water system was just too old to continue to meet the needs of our growing community,” said Tishomingo mayor Tom Lokey. “These projects have provided essential advances to the quality and safety of the community’s water and sewer systems.”
Prior to the approval of the funding, both the city’s water and waste disposal systems were in violation of environmental quality standards, causing both systems to fall under legal “consent orders” to comply with Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality regulations. Specifically, the Tishomingo sewer system experienced unpermitted discharges and the water system experienced low-pressure areas, which often caused the entire system to shut down for hours.
If left unimproved, the sewer discharge could have led to contamination of streams and reservoirs and the low-pressure areas of the water system could have resulted in the backflow of contaminants into the system, said Ricky Riley, USDA Rural Development community programs specialist.
“The Tishomingo sewer and water system will now provide environmentally compliant wastewater and constant, reliable water delivery pressure, which improves both safety and the quality of life for the nearly 3,100 residents of Tishomingo,” Riley said.
In addition to quality of life and safety, the projects also have had economic ramifications for the town, Lokey said.
“The funding for these projects came at the perfect time for our community,” Lokey said. “The improvements to our water delivery and disposal systems have prepared us for the addition of new businesses and growth in private industry that would not be feasible otherwise. For example, the Chickasaw Nation and several other private investors recently have made investments in our community that we would not have been able to support without these infrastructure projects.”
Riley said the progress and growth for which Tishomingo is now ready to support aligns well with the goals of both the recovery act and USDA Rural Development. Ryan McMullen, State Director of USDA Rural Development agreed.
“USDA Rural Development is pleased to provide financing and assistance to Tishomingo residents to update their aging water and wastewater infrastructure, which in turn will help them achieve their goal of building a sustainable and thriving community,” McMullen said.
For more information about this project or another of the more than 40 housing, business and community infrastructure programs administered by USDA Rural Development, call 405-742-1000 or visit the USDA Rural Development office in your area.
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