July 18, 2011
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Irondale awarded $500,000 CDBG for water system improvements
IRONDALE—Within two years, some 445 residents of the City of Irondale in Washington County should be drinking safer water, thanks to grants and loans totaling some $2.1 million.
The City of Irondale has been awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) for improvements to its water system. The Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) prepared the CDBG application and will also serve as grant administrator.
The city also received a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan of $754,000 and a USDA grant of $839,500 for the project. USDA's Donna Martin assisted the city with the USDA project funding. The total project cost is nearly $2.1 million.
The city had been experiencing problems with its water system, with much of the distribution system being more than 40 years old, explained Kelly Sink-Blair, MRPC project development manager and grant writer. The system's iron pipes were prone to line breaks, and the system did not have enough storage capacity to keep a satisfactory pressure level, which caused frequent water shortages.
Metering and controls are outdated, and the city has no back-up source of power for the water system, which has caused emergency situations during inclement weather.
The CDBG funding will allow the city to upgrade the entire water system to address health and safety concerns, as well as operation and maintenance issues.
Distribution lines will be replaced, as well as gate valves, pressure reducing valves, fire hydrants, new meter sets and service lines. The city will install an additional 150,000 gallon standpipe to increase its water storage capacities.
Telemetry and controls, and the disinfection system will be replaced, and both well pumps will be upgraded. An emergency back-up generator will be installed.
City of Irondale Mayor Ron Kennon discussed the water system issues addressed by the project.
“This is something that I’ve been pushing for years. When I moved to the community in 2001, I had low water pressure. We’ve had brown rust issues because of inadequate flushing systems. There is also low water pressure in Camp Irondale. I feel Camp Irondale is not protected as well as other parts of the city because they only have one fire hydrant, and it’s not sufficient to do the job,” Kennon explained.
“We’ve had 18 water main breaks since 2009. In a community our size, that’s big. A lot of areas have old pipes. We will get a new standpipe and back-up generator. The project is an improvement I feel we really need. We gained enough support to go through with it with the bond issue,” he added.
The city of Irondale has been working with Schultz & Summers Engineering, Inc. of Poplar Bluff, Mo. on the project plans.
Once the funding agreement for CDBG has been signed and returned, the project may proceed with contracting bids, said Sink-Blair. The project is expected to be completed within the next two years.
CDBG funds are available on a competitive basis annually through DED for projects such as this one, explained Sink-Blair. The state receives a funding allocation annually from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as approved by Congress.
The state’s CDBG program provides grants and loan funds to cities with a population of less than 50,000 and counties with less than 200,000 to assist in a variety of public works and economic development projects. Larger cities receive funding directly from HUD.
For more information on CDBG grant opportunities in the Meramec Region, persons may contact Sink-Blair at 573-265-2993.