The Village of Maurice recently received a loan from the state's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund for $2,762,000.
Water system improvements are just part of Maurice's investment of $12 million into utility services. The village is investing in utilities to meet the demand of growth that's occurring in the area.
"We've had significant expansions in our village. Over the last year and a half, some 600 rooftops have been added. That type of growth will begin to stress our drinking water system and our sewer plant if it's not addressed," Mayor Wayne Theriot said. "We believe it's better to be proactive and meet this need head-on, rather than be reactive and be behind."
Theriot said after the 2020 census, he expects the town's population to exceed 2,100 people - making Maurice a town instead of a village.
The last census count was 964 people.
Homes have had to be built to the north, with developers discussing proposals for more expansion in the area, Theriot said.
Theriot explained that improvements to the water system include a new water well, a new 150,000-gallon ground storage tank, new high service pumps, and an upgraded treatment facility.
The Village of Maurice and the Louisiana Department of Health's DWRLF Division closed on the loan in August.
"Safe drinking water is fundamental to community health, and this program helps communities throughout Louisiana keep their water as safe as possible without placing an undue burden in the form of expensive financing," said Dr. Jimmy Guidry, the State Health Officer with the Louisiana Department of Health.
McKenzie noted that 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.
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 (80 percent) and the individual participating states (20 percent). In Louisiana, it is administered by LDH's Office of Public Health. 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.