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Scott Water System awarded loan for water system improvements - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Scott Water System awarded loan for water system improvements

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The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) recently awarded a $980,000 loan to the City of Scott through the State's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund. This low-interest subsidized loan will help improve the cities water system.

LDH and City of Scott officials closed the loan on December 28, 2016. The proposed project includes the installation of a complete automatic meter reading system throughout the city, including leak detection and software to interface with the current utility billing system. Additionally, all old or broken meters will be replaced with new water meters.  

"The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund provides an affordable way for local communities to update their drinking water systems," LDH State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry said. "This ensures that community residents have continued access to safe, clean drinking water."

Loans made through this program have low interest rates and repayment periods capped at 20 years. Both public and privately-owned community water systems and nonprofit, non-community water systems are eligible to apply for loans. Once a loan has been approved, water systems can use the funds to make necessary improvements. As the systems pay back the loans, the principal and interest are used to make more money available for loans to other communities. All projects funded by these loans 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 federal Safe Drinking Water Act are given the highest priority.

Congress established State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Programs in 1996 as part of the amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is jointly funded by an annual grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the individual participating states. In Louisiana, the fund is administered by the LDH Office of Public Health. The Fiscal Year 2016 Drinking Water Capitalization Grant allowed for additional subsidies in the form of principal forgiveness of up to 20 percent of the loan's principal, with a cap of $500,000 of principal forgiveness per project. 

Through this special provision, the Revolving Loan Fund will provide additional financial assistance in the form of principal forgiveness in the amount of $196,000 for this loan for the City of Scott's water system.
  
"The purpose of the fund is to be able to provide communities with low-interest subsidized loans to make needed infrastructure improvements and protect public health," said Jennifer Wilson, program manager for LDH's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund.

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