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Rural Water Project Gets Final Funding

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August 8, 2010 by wcobserver

“It’s a Blessing”

By Delcie Kincaid

Southeast Washington County residents will only have to haul water for a few more years after the Rural Development Authority was allotted $9 million in federal and state funding, according to a Monday announcement by County Judge Marilyn Edwards.

The allocation will finish out the two-phase project aimed at providing water to rural residents.

“This project is the last piece of the puzzle in providing water service to all areas of Washington County,” Edwards said.  “A few isolated pockets will remain where service is still not feasible, but for the most part, this project will complete the infrastructure that allows for county-wide water service.”

Marvin Preston, who lives on Wyola Road (WC 102) in the Whitehouse Community, said it’s a blessing for the residents, although it’s been a long time coming.

“I’ve been hauling water from Tatum Spring for 13 years,” he said. “I just think things got mixed up in politics.”

Director of Washington Water Authority, Josh Moore, said he and his staff are in the process of “working out the snafus” in the easement process.

Moore said he plans on having meetings in the next couple of weeks with the area residents when he hopes to get easement approvals and sign them up for water taps.

“The quicker we can get people to sign up, the quicker we can get moving on this,” Moore said.

The cost of a residential tap is around $450, according to Moore.

Winslow resident and former chairman of the Rural Services Committee for the Quorum Court, Darius Mullins, said this is like a dream come true.

“When I was on the committee, it was our goal to get water to all the citizens of Washington County and this will just about do it,” he said. “It’s going to be a great asset to our community.”

Mullins said there are a lot of people in the area that haul all of their water. He said you can see trucks everyday with tanks in the back hauling water.

We’re fortunate to have a pretty good well. We have to haul water sometimes when we have a lot of company or when it’s really dry for awhile, he said, adding he has driven to West Fork and Elkins to purchase water in the past.

Kenny Doss, who lives  in the area said that although it will be a blessing for a lot of folks, he is concerned that the availability of water may fuel growth in the area.

Photo By Steve Winkler Marvin Preston of the Whitehouse Community fills his water tank at Tatum Springs on Hwy 74. Preston is among 300 residents that will have access to rural water.

The land will support a lot more houses the more septic system and that may be end to my spring.  That’s me.  I don’t like change, he said.

The WWA and RDA extended water to nearly 300 homes during Phase I of the Southeast Water Project.  This $9 million project was funded in 2006 and completed in 2008.

The USDA Rural Development has approved the second phase of the Washington County Rural Development Authority’s Southeast Water Project. The U.S. Department of Agriculture funding includes a loan of $1.25 million loan and a $4 million grant.

A formal presentation ceremony is scheduled at 9:30 a.m. Monday, August 9, at the Historic Washington County Courthouse. Dignitaries expected to participate in the ceremony include U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln, State Legislators, and others.

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