LDH awards $2.3M to DeSoto Parish for water system improvements

DESOTO PARISH, La. - The Louisiana Department of Health has awarded a $2.31 million loan to DeSoto Parish to improve its drinking water.
In addition to the loan, which is through the State’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund, the DeSoto water system also received a grant from the Drinking Water Capitalization Grant that pays for the first $462,000 of the loan (principal forgiveness).

The loan was closed in August, and will be used to construct a Magnetic Ion Resin Exchange pre-treatment system. This technology is used to reduce natural organic matter and dissolved organic carbon in drinking water, which will aid the water system in reducing its harmful disinfection byproducts.

Administrator of DeSoto Parish Waterworks District No. 1 John Neilson said, “Our goal is always to provide the highest-quality drinking water to our customers. This technology will make it easier to ensure the quality of our system’s water.”

Dr. Jimmy Guidry, LDH State Health Officer, says the Fund allows local communities to secure affordable financing to update drinking water infrastructure with the latest technology.

Guidry said, “Access to safe drinking water is critical to all Louisiana residents. The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund helps keep water systems up-to-date, bringing safe and clean drinking water to their customers.”

Congress established State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Programs in 1996 as part of the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent).

It is administered by LDH’s Office of Public Health. The FY 2017 Drinking Water Capitalization Grant allowed for additional subsidy in the form of principal forgiveness of up to 20 percent of the loan principal, with a cap of $500,000 of principal forgiveness per project.

Loans made through this program are low interest and have a maximum 20-year repayment period. Both public and privately-owned community and nonprofit, non-community water systems are eligible to apply for loans.

Once a loan is approved, water systems can use the funds to make their improvements. As the systems pay back the loans, the principal and interest are used to make more money available for other communities that have drinking water needs. All loan projects are approved based upon a priority ranking system.

Among other factors, projects that address the most serious risks to human health and those that ensure compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act are given the highest priority.


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