Congressman Marion Berry talks about the $55 Million Recovery Act For Ozark Mountain

Washington – U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor and U.S. Representative Marion Berry (AR-01) today announced that Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority (OMRPWA) will receive $55,728,000 in grant and loan funding from the United States Department of Agriculture through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The funding will be used to address and prevent water shortages and supply a safe and reliable source of water for 22,000 local residents.

“These federal dollars will help provide critical water infrastructure improvements,” said Lincoln. “I’m pleased to see this investment in our state, and I remain committed to ensuring that Arkansas receives the funding and resources we need to stay strong.”

“I was proud to lead this delegation effort that will result in a safe, quality water supply for families and businesses in east central Arkansas,” Pryor said.  “USDA’s commitment to address rural infrastructure challenges, along with the region’s resolve and coordination to meet its water demands, resulted in this extraordinary award. It’s a prime example of how local, state and the federal government can work together to bring economic opportunity to rural communities.”

“A safe and reliable source of water is essential for economic development, creating new jobs and encouraging business development,” said Berry.  “Most importantly this project will provide local residents with a clean and safe supply of drinking water for the first time and eliminate risks to the public health.  By working together with the delegation and the local community, we were able to complete this major project that will greatly benefit the entire region.”

Currently, the region has limited water resources for several local communities. In addition, according to the Arkansas Department of Health, the water that is available to residents contains excessive and dangerous levels of elements, including radium 226, radium 228, fluoride and hydrogen sulfide. The EPA has certified that many of these water sources are unsafe for human consumption.

A long-term solution to this problem is the OMRPWA project.  This project involves construction of an intake structure and treatment plant on Bull Shoals Lake and the necessary transmission mains and booster pumping stations to transport the purified water across some of the most rugged and difficult terrain in the Ozarks.
Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement. In Arkansas Ozark Mountain Regional Public Water Authority will receive $55,728,000.

marion and bob #1(Above) Congressman Marion Berry and Bob Connell talk about the Recovery Act