Financing awarded for Erwin water line improvements

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Mar 23, 2017 at 4:46 PM

ERWIN — The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has awarded $1.75 million in low-interest loans to Erwin Utilities for a water distribution improvement project to begin this spring.

The funds are part of $14.2 million award of State Revolving Fund loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements in Tennessee communities announced on Wednesday by Gov. Bill Haslam and TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau.

“Drinking water infrastructure is a priority for TDEC,” Martineau said.

The SRF program provides utility districts and water and wastewater authorities loans at lower interest rates than private financing and uses grant funding from the Environmental Protection Agency to include principal forgiveness with some of the program loans.

For Erwin Utilities, the new SRF loan awards include a $1,125,000 loan to be financed over 20 years at 1.24 percent interest with $375,000 in principal forgiveness, for a total of $1.5 million in project funding, and a $500,000 loan also financed at 1.24 percent interest over 20 years.

Both loans are designated for water distribution system improvements and water meter replacements.

In January, the Erwin Board of Mayor and Aldermen authorized Erwin Utilities’ application for $2 million in financing for water line replacement.

Erwin Utilities General Manager Lee Brown told the board at that time the project will involve replacing aging water lines at various locations inside and outside the town, hopefully beginning this spring.

“It is fantastic that Erwin Utilities can continue to make needed water line improvements with State Revolving Loan, low-interest loans,” Brown told the Johnson City Press on Thursday.

“The $375,000 principal forgiveness is an added bonus to our ratepayers’ advantage,” he said.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.