LITTLE ROCK -- The cities of Decatur and Highfill were among the recipients of loan funding from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Commission, according to a June 22 news release.
The ANRC approved $702,318,258 in funding for 122 water and wastewater projects serving more than 1,253,000 Arkansans, the largest allocation of funds awarded for water and wastewater in the state of Arkansas to date.
Decatur was awarded loan funding in the amount of $11.5 million to be used as needed, together with other grant funding the city has on hand, to upgrade the city's wastewater treatment plant to comply with Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality requirements. The city hopes to make the upgrades without significant rate increases for the city's sewer customers.
Highfill was awarded $2,721,750 in loan funding to use with another $2.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds awarded to the city to complete a much-needed $5.4 million project to run a sewer line to the Northwest Arkansas Conservation Authority's wastewater treatment facility at 11579 Snavely Road, southeast of Highfill, for water treatment services.
Since the ARPA grant of $2.7 million is a 50/50 grant, the city applied for a $2.7 million loan from Arkansas Natural Resources Commission earlier in February.
"Water and wastewater infrastructure systems are critically important to the everyday lives of every Arkansan. The Department of Agriculture and the Natural Resources Commission are pleased to have approved a record level of funding for 122 water and wastewater projects that will serve over one-third of our state's population," said Wes Ward, Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture.
The ANRC approves and provides financial assistance to eligible Arkansas entities from five different programs through loans, loans with principal forgiveness, and grants. A total of $633,138,145 was provided in loans, $68,957,100 in loans with principal forgiveness, and $223,013 in grants.
A complete list of the projects funded can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/natural-resources/news/announcements/.
In addition to project funding, the ANRC approved two grants to the Arkansas Rural Water Association, totaling $190,000, to provide technical assistance to communities for water and wastewater infrastructure across the state. The Commission also approved a $43 million General Obligation Bond Series Resolution, conservation district board appointments, and $1.2 million in funding to conservation districts.
More information about the Natural Resources Division's water and wastewater programs can be found at agriculture.arkansas.gov/natural-resources/divisions/water-development/water-and-wastewater-funding/ or by contacting Debby Dickson at [email protected] or 501-682-0548.
The Arkansas Department of Agriculture is dedicated to the development and implementation of policies and programs for Arkansas agriculture, forestry and natural resources to keep its farmers and ranchers competitive in national and international markets while conserving natural resources and ensuring safe food, fiber and forest products for the citizens of the state and nation. Visit agriculture.arkansas.gov/.