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HCSA Awarded $15 Million Grant, Loan

The Halifax County Service Authority announced Tuesday it has received approval for a $15 million loan and grant application project at its Maple Avenue Wastewater Treatment Plant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Program.

In presenting the formal letter of conditions, USDA Rural Development Area Specialist Arthur Powers described the award as “the biggest single grant for water and sewer I’ve handled in my 20 plus years of working with the USDA.”

The HCSA received the formal letter of conditions from Rural Development representatives yesterday in Halifax during an informal meeting announcing the grant.

According to HCSA Executive Director Willie Jones, the letter of conditions describes the specific terms and requirements of this award that totals $15 million in loan and grants including a $10 million grant award and $5 million in loans.

To fund the project, the service authority sought a $485,000 STAG grant, a grant from the Tobacco Commission and the EDA and an $11 million grant from Rural Development.

In addition to the grants, the authority also sought to secure financing for $1.8 million of new money and to re-finance existing sewer loans for the authority which would realize about $216,000 in annual savings, the HCSA executive director said.

The project will provide for plant expansion and improvements and repairs to the facility that will help the wastewater treatment plant meet consent orders from the Department of Environmental Quality, Jones said.

HCSA Chairman Doug Bowman said in addition to providing added capacity to the wastewater plant and providing for greater operating efficiency, the loan and grant project will allow the HCSA to produce a much cleaner discharge that is “more environmentally friendly.”

The project timeline for water and sewer improvements calls for design work to continue through March of next year followed by regulatory approval in April, advertising, bidding and awarding of the project in May and June.

In July of 2011, construction work is expected to begin and continue through 2012 with an estimated project closeout date set for January 2013.