Leesville, LA— This month, the Department of Health and
Hospitals' (DHH) Office of Public Health awarded $4.8 million to the City of
Leesville through the State's Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program
(DWRLF). The loan will help the system improve and update the community's
drinking water system.
Assistant Secretary for Public Health, J.T. Lane said it's
imperative that all Louisiana residents have access to safe drinking water.
"This program gives local communities a source of dependable and
affordable financing to bring their water treatment facilities up to the latest
and most modern technology that keeps their residents safe and healthy."
"This money will greatly benefit our city by paying for
water system improvements and providing assurance to our residents that we will
always have one of our most precious resources, drinking water," said
Leesville Mayor Robert Rose. "Water is a finite resource, and we need to
know that as long as our city exists it has a reliable source of
Each month, the City of Leesville's aging water system loses
close to 60 percent of the water it produces. The $4.8 million is expected to
help solve the city's water loss problem by paying to replace the system's
water lines. The money will also provide much needed upgrades to Leesville's
water treatment plants and rehabilitation of the system's existing water
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 DHH's Office of Public
Health. The Drinking Water Capitalization Grant allowed for additional subsidy
in the form of principal forgiveness of up to 30 percent of the loan principal,
with a cap of $1,125,000 of principal forgiveness per project. Through this
special provision, the DWRLF is providing principal forgiveness in the amount
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.
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.
"These improvements assist the systems in complying
with the Safe Drinking Water Act and protecting public health," said
Jennifer Wilson, program manager for the State's Drinking Water Revolving Loan
In the photo above, pictured from left to right: Dan
MacDonald, Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program Engineer; Robert Rose,
Mayor of Leesville; Jake Causey, DHH Office of Public Health Chief Engineer;
and Jennifer Wilson, Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund Program Manager.
For more information about the program, contact Jennifer
Wilson at DHH's Office of Public Health, 225-342-7499.
Questions regarding this matter may be directed to City Hall