RECOVERY FUNDS TO IMPROVE CWS PROJECTS
In March of last year (2021), the federal government passed the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This legislation, among other things, authorized over $350 Billion in financial assistance to every county in the United States. The program was intended to “combat the Covid-19 pandemic, including the public health and economic impacts”. And while the government permitted flexibility in the use of the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) funds, it requires that they fall into one of 4 categories: (1) replace lost public sector revenue, (2) support COVID public health and economic response, (3) provide premium pay for eligible workers performing essential work, and (4) invest in water, sewer and broadband infrastructure.
For CWS, this means much-needed funds will be available for several of our clients including both South and West Dallas Water Authorities, and Hale County Water Authority. According to Regional Manager Torrey Jones, the CWS project managers have worked diligently to assist the clients with their efforts to obtain a portion of those American Rescue Plan funds for their communities. “A lot of work has been done by our team in addition to our daily responsibilities. We wanted to help our clients and see these communities benefit from this money.” As for that process, Jones said it began when the County Commissions received notification of the money that would be given to them. The Commissions, in turn, contacted the various water boards to determine what sort of projects could be completed with those funds. CWS helped the clients put together a list of needs/wishes and submitted the information, along with pricing, back to the County Commission. “Although we were not required to provide plans and specs, there was definitely significant time spent in researching options, obtaining pricing, etc. We had questions about the process and those were submitted to and answered by the grant writer. We had to gather three quotes for material and labor. And now that we know how much money was awarded, we are working with the engineers to get those projects going.”
For South and West Dallas Water Authorities, they will each be receiving $150,000 which will allow them to complete such projects as a 6” water main extension to the interior of the South Dallas Industrial Park, installation of SCADA communication controls for existing PRV at County Roads 38 and 407, water main extension along County Road 26, installation of new fire hydrants, SCADA upgrade at the water treatment plant, and water line extensions in River Oaks and along County 101.
Hale County Water Authority will also receive funds to perform various water system improvements including installation of a new well in west- central Hale County, new transmission water main from the well to the water tank on CR 21, reactivation of the ground water storage tank on CR 21, and upgrade the Gallion BPS. The final dollar amount of the award has yet to be announced to the County.
According to Jones, construction projects for each of these clients are expected to begin soon. Of course, CWS will assist the client and the engineers as needed throughout the construction process.
CWS Assists with Groundwater Festival
Students from Union Springs Elementary and Macon East recently attended the 11th Annual Bullock County Groundwater Festival, an event put on by the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. This year’s theme was “Saving Water for the Future”. The students left their classrooms on a field trip to the Wehle Nature Center in Midway, AL where they participated in hands-on activities that focused on the meaning of groundwater, the importance of water to all life forms, and the water cycle and groundwater’s role in the process. According to Carla Elston, Bullock County’s Extension Coordinator, the students were taught the effects of human actions in our water supply and the need for responsible behaviors to help conserve water for future generations.
CWS was proud to assist with this effort by donating money for the purchase of t-shirts for the students, teachers, and volunteers. Groundwater, surface water, the water cycle, environmental conservation – that is the wheelhouse of CWS. This event served as a perfect opportunity for CWS to ‘build communities and impact lives.’