BATON ROUGE, La. – Bossier City residents and businesses in the northeast section of the city will soon enjoy improved drinking water, thanks to an $8 million investment in new, larger water pipes and an improved water tower. The Bossier City Water System was awarded a loan from the Louisiana Office of Public Health’s Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund (DWRLF) to fund the improvements, which include the installation of nearly two miles of 42-inch water pipes – more than doubling the capacity of the current 20-inch water mains – and an “inside and out” rehabilitation of the North East Tower.
The tower will be sandblasted on the interior and exterior to clean it of aged paint and debris, and both sides will be resurfaced. “The north area of our city has been one of our fastest growing areas for the last 10 to 15 years. This investment will allow us to improve water pressure and overall quality of the drinking water to our customers in that area,” Bossier City Chief Administrative Office Pam Glorioso said. The Bossier City Water System serves approximately 26,000 households. The improvements are expected to bring better service to about one-third of those customers, Glorioso said.
“The Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund has provided an affordable way for the residents of this water system to improve their local drinking water infrastructure,” said LDH State Health Officer Dr. Jimmy Guidry. “Safe drinking water is fundamental to community health, and this program helps communities throughout Louisiana keep their water as safe as possible without placing an undue burden in the form of expensive financing.”
Joel McKenzie, program manager for Louisiana’s DWRLF program, said state and city officials closed on the $8 million loan on April 1. McKenzie said the DWRLF program offers low-interest loans to public and privately-owned, community and non-profit, non-community water systems. The program is currently offering up to 30 percent forgiveness of the loan principal with a maximum amount of $200,000 per project.
Glorioso said the city is currently finalizing the bid process for the projects. She said she anticipates construction will begin this summer, despite some delays that have been caused by the COVID-19 closures. McKenzie noted that all DWRLF loan projects are approved based upon a priority ranking system. 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, he said.
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 LDH’s Office of Public Health.
The Louisiana Department of Health strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about LDH, visit www.ldh.louisiana.gov. For up-to-date health information, news and emergency updates, follow LDH’s Twitter account and Facebook.