Federal water grants funneled through Georgia to Suwannee River Basin

The Georgia Governor’s office yesterday announced grants to many cities and counties for water projects. The funds come from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

Of the eighteen awardees in the Suwannee River Basin, adding up to $57,285,314.00, no surprise, Valdosta got the most. No, it’s not to fix some more of those sewer and manhole problems. It’s to build a new drinking well system, “southwest of the City limits, west of I-75 on Highway 84 near exit 16…”

Hahira, with about 5% of Valdosta’s population, got the second most, to fix its wastewater treatment plant and some stormwater drainage. Maybe that will stop Hahira from leaking E. coli into Franks Creek and the Little River.

[Treatment Plant Flow Diagram]
Treatment Plant Flow Diagram

Ray City got a substantial amount to fix its aging wastewater treatment plant, which should be good for Cat Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

Unfortunately missing is Quitman, which wanted $482,000 to top off local funds for fixing its lift stations. So no ARPA help to Quitman for stopping sewage spills into Okapilco Creek and the Withlacoochee River.

Here are those awardees, most to least:

City of Valdosta – Utilities Department, $12,075,000.00
Hahira, $9,504,417.00
Norman Park, $5,426,910.00
Lowndes County, $5,250,000.00
Arabi, $4,510,685.00
Tifton, $3,770,000.00
Moultrie, $3,570,550.00
Fitzgerald, $2,542,348.00
Homerville, $1,746,720.00
Ashburn, $1,680,000.00
Lakeland, $1,582,082.00
Pavo, $1,392,230.00
City of Adel, $946,100.00
Ray City, $840,000.00
Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation-ABAC Water Tower and Well, $758,477.00
Alapaha, $750,000.00
Lake Park, $465,395.00
Irwin County, $358,400.00
Fargo, $116,000.00

Fargo has a population of 250, so that is a significant amount of money. They want it to:

The City of Fargo (Population 250 — zip code 31631) is located in Clinch County. The City is seeking to address deficiencies and limitations within its water distribution system which prevent the City from providing adequate water service to its residents and customers during the pandemic. Currently, the City of Fargo only has one (1) operating well to serve the City’s residents and commercial businesses. The existing well is located off US Highway 441, on the Northern side of town (30.7027°N, 82.5701°W) and is capable of producing 550 GPM. The City is need of a second well to provide sufficient water pressure to the system, provide a source of back-up water supply in emergency events, and to comply with EPD regulations outlined in the Minimum Standards for Public Water Systems. Failure at the City’s existing well has been experienced recently and a temporary pump at the well had to be installed. While the City was able to operate their system with the temporary pump, this option is not sustainable for the City. In order to provide the residents and customers of Fargo with an adequate water supply, the City is proposing to construct a new chemical feed building to accompany a new well that the City will be drilling as part of a GEFA Drinking Water Loan.

Failures of the City’s existing well would be detrimental to the public and environmental health of the City of Fargo. The City acknowledges these concerns and wants to take action, but the cost to construct a new chemical feed building is out of reach for a community the size of Fargo. The goal of the proposed improvements is to provide residents and customers with safe and reliable drinking water and restore the City’s water distribution system to its full operational capacity. The City of Fargo respectively submits this application as a statement of dire need in hopes of obtaining funding assistance from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund. The total cost is $131,000.00 with the City using a portion of the direct allocation of SLFRF as matching funds.

Here are the same awardees in alphabetical order, followed by the Governor’s press release:

Alapaha, $750,000.00
Arabi, $4,510,685.00
Ashburn, $1,680,000.00
Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation-ABAC Water Tower and Well, $758,477.00
City of Adel, $946,100.00
City of Valdosta – Utilities Department, $12,075,000.00
Fargo, $116,000.00
Fitzgerald, $2,542,348.00
Hahira, $9,504,417.00
Homerville, $1,746,720.00
Irwin County, $358,400.00
Lake Park, $465,395.00
Lakeland, $1,582,082.00
Lowndes County, $5,250,000.00
Moultrie, $3,570,550.00
Norman Park, $5,426,910.00
Pavo, $1,392,230.00
Ray City, $840,000.00
Tifton, $3,770,000.00

Governor’s Press Release

Gov. Kemp Announces More Than $422M in Awards to Reinforce Water and Sewer Infrastructure in Communities Across the State, February 22, 2022

Atlanta, GA — Governor Brian P. Kemp, joined by members of the Water and Sewer Infrastructure Committee and state leaders, today announced more than $422 million in preliminary awards which will ensure communities in high-need areas have reliable and safe drinking water and wastewater systems.

“Because we remained focused on protecting lives and livelihoods throughout the pandemic, Georgia is now in a position to make strategic, transformational investments in our state’s water and sewer infrastructure,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “I want to thank the committee members for dedicating their time and expertise to help us make these awards as well as the grants team at the Office of Planning and Budget. I am proud to know that we have worked hard to prioritize projects which address pressing public health and environmental issues, support economic development, and enhance our ability to be good stewards of our water resources for generations to come.”

These investments will help:

  • Improve drinking water treatment;
  • Extend drinking water service to high-need areas; *Improve drinking water infrastructure including interconnections and additional sources to ensure water system resiliency; high-tech meters and asset management systems to improve drinking water system responsiveness to issues such as leaks or line breaks; upsizing or replacing pipes to reduce leaks and water loss; and lead pipe inventory development and replacement;
  • Improve wastewater treatment, resulting in cleaner lakes and rivers;
  • Improve biosolids management, resulting in less waste in our landfills;
  • Improve sewer systems, resulting in fewer spills that can pose threats to public health and environmental quality; and
  • Secure Georgia’s water resources for future generations.

The Office of the Governor would like to thank all the committee members who played an impactful role in evaluating the applications:

Mark Williams— Commissioner, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Rick Dunn— Director, Environmental Protection Division (EPD)
Kevin Clark— Executive Director, Georgia Environmental Finance Authority
John Eunice— Deputy Director, EPD
Dr. Anna Truszczynski— Watershed Protection Branch Chief, EPD
Dr. Wei Zeng— Water Protection Program Manager, EPD
Sen. Blake Tillery— Chairman, Senate Appropriations Committee
Rep. Terry England— Chairman, House Appropriations Committee
Rep. Dominic LaRiccia — Georgia House of Representatives
Rep. Robert Dickey — Chairman, House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee
Sen. Russ Goodman— Governor’s Floor Leader
Sen. Larry Walker— Chairman, Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee
Sen. Freddie Powell Sims— Vice Chair, Senate Interstate Cooperation Committee


For those who applied and were awarded, please click here for additional information. Please see below a full list of the award recipients:

Adairsville, $1,583,000.00
Alapaha, $750,000.00
Arabi, $4,510,685.00
Ashburn, $1,680,000.00
Attapulgus, $1,223,425.00
Auburn, $3,041,680.00
Bainbridge, $21,896,427.00
Banks County Commissioners, $3,178,702.48
Bartow County, $10,382,500.00
Baxley, $1,530,418.00
Blackshear, $500,000.00
Blue Ridge, $1,000,000.00
Bluffton, $1,282,050.00
Braselton, $416,500.00
Brooklet, $2,031,000.00
Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission, $1,900,000.00
Butler, $334,889.00
Cairo, $1,224,000.00
Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation-Warthen, GA, $221,538.00
Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation- Parrott, $137,215.00
Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation-ABAC Water Tower and Well, $758,477.00
City of Adel, $946,100.00
City of Albany, $12,226,560.00
City of Dudley, $486,640.00
City of Folkston, $5,074,904.00
City of Hoschton (wastewater treatment), $2,000,000.00
City of Hoschton (drinking water), $400,000.00
City of Smyrna, $4,000,000.00
City of Valdosta – Utilities Department, $12,075,000.00
City of Warner Robins, $11,000,000.00
Clarkesville, $422,480.00
Comer, $337,920.00
Concord, $312,500.00
Coolidge, $624,238.00
Cordele, $10,000,000.00
Crawford, $676,240.00
Culloden, $81,000.00
Dallas City, $1,226,337.00
Dawson, $1,200,000.00
Dawsonville, $3,000,000.00
Department of Natural Resources and Albany State University, $49,800,000.00
Donalsonville, $225,000.00
Douglas, $2,110,000.00
Douglas County, $750,000.00
East Dublin, $775,030.00
Eatonton-Putnam Water & Sewer Authority (EPWSA), $3,063,500.00
Fannin County Water Authority, $373,650.00
Fargo, $116,000.00
Fitzgerald, $2,542,348.00
Forsyth, $3,900,000.00
Forsyth County Finance, $32,600,000.00
Gilmer County, $286,427.00
Girard, $142,417.00
Glennville, $1,472,785.94
Grantville, $44,125.00
Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners, $15,000,000.00
Hahira, $9,504,417.00
Hogansville, $2,100,000.00
Homerville, $1,746,720.00
Houston County, $3,230,700.00
Iron City, $2,165,063.00
Irwin County, $358,400.00
Ivey, $546,000.00
Jesup, $6,876,837.00
Jones County, $3,969,333.06
Lake Park, $465,395.00
Lakeland, $1,582,082.00
Leary, $4,512,850.00
Liberty County (drinking water), $561,468.75
Liberty County (water system extension), $2,016,715.54
Lincolnton, $579,169.01
Long County, $3,000,000.00
Lowndes County, $5,250,000.00
Lyons, $1,580,756.00
Manchester, $1,617,614.00
Marion County Board of Commissioners, $1,020,000.00
Marshallville, $75,825.00
Meigs, $1,016,400.00
Monroe County, $6,000,000.00
Moultrie, $3,570,550.00
Mount Vernon, $929,606.00
Norman Park, $5,426,910.00
Oak Park, $659,225.00
Odum, $1,344,400.00
Oglethorpe, $3,406,222.00
Pavo, $1,392,230.00
Pelham, $972,300.00
Pembroke, $8,661,250.00
Ray City, $840,000.00
Richland, $1,850,000.00
Rincon, $7,374,685.36
Rutledge, $159,125.00
Schley County, $1,082,921.00
Scotland, $593,934.00
Shellman, $138,700.00
Shiloh, $296,233.50
Springfield, $1,675,000.00
Summerville, $1,147,812.50
Sylvania, $3,055,442.27
Tattnall County, $619,050.00
Tennille, $11,981,897.69
Tifton, $3,770,000.00
Tignall, $624,000.00
Toccoa of, $4,315,000.00
Twiggs County Board of Commissioners, $9,429,956.00
Twin City, $303,553.74
Unadilla, $426,531.00
Union County, $1,690,000.00
Uvalda, $1,158,156.00
Vidalia, $4,000,000.00
Waleska, $845,007.00
Walker County Water Sewerage Authority, $20,000,000.00
Warren County, $605,202.20
Waynesboro, $2,047,050.00
Winder, $10,000,000.00
Wrightsville, $7,049,645.00

Contact Director of Communications
Katie Byrd

Contact Deputy Director of Communications
Andrew Isenhour

Details of the applications are here.

 -jsq, John S. Quarterman, Suwannee RIVERKEEPER®

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