Walker County Water and Sewerage Authority (WCWSA) will receive $20 million to improve access to clean drinking water in unserved and underserved rural communities. Georgia’s Water and Sewer Infrastructure committee selected WCWSA’s proposal as one of 116 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant projects. The state gave priority to applications with broad community impact and local government support.
WCWSA will install new water mains to distribute reliable and safe drinking water throughout much of Walker County. The project also calls for the construction of additional storage tanks throughout WCWSA’s distribution network, a new water treatment plant and additional infrastructure to redirect sewer.
The ARPA grant will result in the extension of 82,346 linear feet of water main infrastructure throughout the county. Crews will install water mains along Glass Mill Road, Old Bethel Road to Highway 341, from the Coke Ovens wellfield to Mountain View storage tanks, Tatum Road up Lookout Mountain, and from the Georgia/Alabama state line at Flarity Road to Highway 157 and the Girl Scout’s Camp Adahi.
“50,000 Walker County residents will directly benefit from these water service enhancements,” said Chairman Shannon Whitfield, Walker County Board of Commissioners. “Adding these water main extensions will effectively loop our system and the new water treatment plant will allow us to filter up to 12 million gallons per day to serve existing and future WCWSA customers.”
The total estimated cost of all of the water and sewer service improvements is $45,490,000. The ARPA grant received by WCWSA will fund 44% ($20,000,000) of the project costs. Walker County Government will invest $5,000,000 in matching funds with local ARPA dollars, while WCWSA will be responsible for the remaining $20,490,000.
“I’m grateful to our legislative delegation, especially Senator Jeff Mullis, along with Governor Kemp and his team, and numerous other state partners for recognizing the importance of these projects,” added Whitfield, who also serves as WCWSA chair. “We now have the resources to make improvements to our infrastructure that will last for the next 50 years.”
“I would like to thank Gov. Kemp and our elected officials for their continued dedication to improving the lives of northwest Georgians,” said Sen. Mullis. “A healthy water and sewer infrastructure is crucial for improving the standard of living and general prosperity in our region. These funds will be a tremendous catalyst for growth.”
Rep. Mike Cameron said, “This significant investment from the State of Georgia will be a driver of economic development and improve the lives of hard working Georgians. I want to thank the Governor and our local officials for their tremendous work. I look forward to seeing these infrastructure projects enhance northwest Georgia communities.”
“Water and sewer infrastructure is the backbone of economic growth,” said Spencer Hogg, Project Manager, Northwest Georgia Joint Development Authority. “The $20,000,000 investment from the State of Georgia will have an unprecedented impact on the ability to attract new prospects and help current projects expand. We are thankful for Gov. Kemp and the Walker County Commissioners for their leadership.”
Design work is already underway on many of the planned water and sewer projects in Walker County, with a target completion date in the fourth quarter of 2024.
WCWSA is the largest of the nine water service providers in Walker County.