The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development South Dakota State Director Elsie M. Meeks joined Rural Development Assistant Administrator for Water and Environmental Programs Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk (Washington, DC) for a site visit to Southern Black Hills Water System Inc. They viewed the progress being made on the Southern Black Hills Rural Water System Phase II project which will extend the water system to the Northwest area of Hot Springs.
“This rural water system project will provide an adequate and dependable source of quality water to Northern Fall River and Southern Custer County users,” said Meeks. “This project is a great example of what can happen when State and Federal agencies cooperate and come together to make a project like this happen. USDA Rural Development is committed to providing investment financing and an improved quality of life for local residents.”
The Southern Black Hills Water System, Inc. was formed as a not-for-profit corporation under the laws of the State of South Dakota to provide water service to users living in Northern Fall River and Southern Custer Counties. This project is necessary to provide an adequate supply of water for the families residing in the area. Phase I of the project included Rural Development Water and Waste loan funds of $3,617,000 and grant funds of $900,000 for the construction of a new water system which included distribution lines, pump stations, and water storage tanks. Phase II of the project will utilize Rural Development Water and Waste loan funds of $300,000 and grant funds of $2,400,000 to expand the system to the Northwest area of Hot Springs. The State of South Dakota has provided additional funding through a $12,000,000 grant. Approximately 87 miles of pipe will be installed to deliver high quality drinking water to residents in the area. In addition, a 125,000 gallon elevated water storage tank will be constructed and two booster pump stations will be installed. For both phases, the federal funding was leveraged with state, applicant, or other contributions.
“This project will provide quality water that meets EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act regulations for many rural residents living in the southern hills area,” said Don Peterson, Manager of Southern Black Hills Water Systems, Inc. “A number of the homeowners are currently forced to haul water to their homes to maintain an adequate water supply. The dedication and volunteerism provided by the board of directors and the grass roots support of our members have turned this pipe dream into reality.”
George Vansco, South Dakota Rural Water, stated “this project overcame many challenges, but like most rural water systems, the people located within the proposed service area who were faced with poor water quality or hauled water from nearby towns are the real winners. Without their support and dedication, the project would have never gotten off the ground.”
USDA Rural Development in South Dakota has offices in Aberdeen, Huron, Mitchell, Pierre, Rapid City, Sioux Falls, Watertown, and Yankton. For more information, visit the USDA Rural Development website at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/sd.
The Administration’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President’s leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA’s investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.