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Millions of state dollars will soon be headed to the Rio Grande Valley to fund several infrastructure projects that will bring wastewater service to several communities across Hidalgo and Cameron counties for the very first time.
The Texas Water Development Board on Tuesday announced the award of nearly $25 million that will go toward funding projects in Mission, the Mid-Valley and Cameron County.
The funding comes as part of the water regulator’s Economically Distressed Areas Program, or EDAP, which provides financial assistance for water and sewer projects that will serve economically distressed communities, or those where water and sewer services do not currently exist.
The development board describes an “economically distressed area” as one where the median household income is less than 75% of the state median.
The financial assistance is distributed via a combination of grants and loans, with 70% of each award being a grant. The remaining 30% comes in the form of a low-interest loan with a maximum term of 20 years, according to a fact sheet on the TWDB website.
Over the life of the program, TWDB has allocated approximately $838 million for such water infrastructure projects across Texas.
During the 88th Legislature, which adjourned on May 29, state lawmakers approved another $100 million budget appropriation to fund additional EDAP projects.
The TWDB announced funding for the Valley projects soon after.
The state funding has proven to be critical to modernizing local water infrastructure, according to state Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
“EDAP has been an important program for our communities in the Rio Grande Valley” Hinojosa said via a news release on Thursday.
“Funding authorized by the Legislature for this program allows communities to provide water services to rural areas where access to safe water does not exist or is not provided,” he further stated.
The largest amount of funding will go toward the North Alamo Water Supply Corporation, or NAWSC, which will receive $14.2 million for projects in the rural Mid-Valley.
A total of $4.4 million will be used to bring first-time sewer service to the Cielo Azul No. 5 and Mesquite Subdivision No. 1 unincorporated communities north of Weslaco.
That project will consist of building a wastewater collection system, including one lift station, 5,000 linear feet of gravity sewer lines and 3,800 linear feet of forced mains, according to a TWDB news release.
A second NAWSC project, worth $9.8 million, will be constructed outside of Donna.
That project will bring sewer service to nine subdivisions north of the city and connect it to the Donna Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Planning, land acquisition and project design will be funded separately via the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.
Another $8.5 million will go to the city of Mission to bring first-time sewer service to 14 subdivisions northwest of the city.
And finally, the Military Highway Water Supply Corporation in Cameron County will receive $2.2 million to replace 11,000 linear feet of water lines along Military Highway, moving them farther away from the roadway in the process.
To find a comprehensive list of bills filed — and the status of those bills — visit MyRGV.com and click the 88th Texas Legislative Session tab, which has an interactive spreadsheet and a comprehensive list of AIM Media Texas’ legislative coverage.