City awarded low interest loan to build new water plant

Public meeting
on water projects
to be held Tuesday
The city of Cairo was awarded a loan for $3,586,710 on Tuesday by the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) to finance construction of a new water treatment plant at the Cairo Municipal Airport.
The loan proceeds will come from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The GEFA board of directors voted on the city’s loan application on Tuesday.
The board also agreed to forgive $500,000 of the $3.5 million loan. The city will pay 0.66 percent interest on $3,086,710 over 10 years.
With the loan proceeds the city will finance the construction of the new plant, a high-service pump station and 500,000 gallon storage tank.
“We are extremely pleased our loan application was approved. Considering the 0.66 interest rate and the $500,000 that is being forgiven, this is basically interest-free money. We certainly need this new plant and this funding will make it happen,” Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said.
The city’s water source is located near the southern edge of the Gulf Trough, an area of the Floridan aquifer that contains elevated levels of arsenic.
The new treatment plant will include an arsenic removal system along with a chemical injection system. Two deep water supply wells capable of yielding 2,000 gallons per minute will also be constructed.
“The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund assists local governments with their efforts to provide safe drinking water. In addition to the public’s health and safety, these projects are critical to a community’s ability to prosper economically,” said GEFA Executive Director Kevin Clark.
The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is a federal loan program administered by GEFA and provides Georgia communities with low-interest loans to fund water infrastructure projects.
The first well dug at the airport produced approximately 3,200 gallons per minute with a drawdown of only 20 feet in a 24-hour test in March. Crews with Rowe Drilling Co., Inc., of Tallahassee are in the process of drilling a second well at the airport.
The city has another high producing well on MacIvor Drive, which currently provides the majority of the city’s drinking water. The #9 well generates approximately 3,000 gallons per minute, according to the city manager.
The city will hold a public meeting next Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m. to discuss water improvements to be funded with the GEFA loan.
The purposes of the public meeting are to:
• Inform the public of the need for improvements to the City’s water system.
• Comply with the requirements of the Georgia’s Rules for Safe Drinking Water and with the public participation requirements of Georgia’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) Environmental Review Process.
• Encourage public involvement in the development of a plan to improve the water system.
During the public meeting next week, the city will attempt to identify public preferences for alternative methods of improving the city’s water facilities. These alternatives will be evaluated and included in the City’s Preliminary Engineering Report and Environmental Information Document, the major planning documents covering the water system. These documents are available for public inspection through the date of the public meeting at Cairo City Hall, 119 N. Broad St., Cairo, GA 39828 during normal business hours.

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