Grant approval provides refreshing news

By Brian Knox | Published Wednesday, September 4, 2013

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The City of Chico has received a grant to improve water quality for residents.

Chico Mayor J.D. Clark said the city was notified last Friday that it has been approved for a Community Development Fund grant in the amount of $275,000 from the Texas Department of Agriculture. The grant will fund a new filtration system for the city’s water supply.

A year ago, the city began the process of applying for the grant, including holding a public hearing. After receiving positive feedback from residents, the city applied for the competitive grant last October. In June, officials were notified that Chico’s project had been ranked sixth out of 63 public entities in terms of priority.

Clark said he was pleased that the TDA felt it was a worthy project.

“We’ve worked hard to improve our water quality in Chico over the past few years, and it is encouraging to see the Texas Department of Agriculture recognizing the importance of this project,” Clark said via email. “It’s a huge step for our community – not only for our current residents, but for the future generations who will live in Chico.”

Water quality has been an issue at times in Chico. The city noticed a spike in uranium levels in the water back in 2009. The levels exceeded 30 micrograms per liter, the level at which the Environmental Protection Agency says it becomes a possible health risk. At that time, the city shut down three of its oldest wells and those wells have remained shut off. The city has also continued to test all of its wells each month.

The new filtration system should also help reduce the limestone content in the water. Clark said the high limestone content is often hard on people’s appliances.

Earlier this year, Clark estimated that the cost of a new water filtration system would be $400,000 to $500,000. The city would pay any costs over the $275,000 covered by the grant.

The mayor said the contract is being drafted and should be sent to the city within 30 to 60 days.

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