Signing ceremony launches ADEM funded $10 million Hayneville sewer project

Published 7:57 pm Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Federal, state, and local officials gathered at Hayneville Town Hall Friday to witness a signing ceremony launching the town’s $10 million sewer repair and upgrade project.

Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) Director Lance LeFleur joined Hayneville Mayor Jimmy Davis in signing the $10 million award for the first project to close using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funds.

“This is the first project to close using Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds for the state of Alabama,” LeFleur said. “It is the third one for Region 4, the eight states in the south eastern area, and the seventh one in the entire nation. The needs [in Hayneville] are great. I want to tip my hat to the mayor for making people aware of that and for working closely with us.”

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The grant funding is part of $463 million awarded by ADEM in 2022 for public water and sewer system improvements through a statewide initiative to repair and upgrade old, failing, and overwhelmed systems.

“We’ve had requests for about $3 billion in projects,” LeFluer said. “This year, we had $463 million available and down the road we’re going to probably have about another $700-800 million and maybe some additional money out of the legislature for a second round of awards. We’ll be able to fund hopefully about half of those $3 billion in requests.”

Daniel Blackmon, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 administrator, said assistance to disadvantaged and underserved communities is critical and BIL funding will finance restoration of Hayneville’s sanitary sewer collection system and provide 87 additional new connections to reduce widespread and constant exposure to raw sewage.

“I read a recent article in The Lowndes Signal that said the life expectancy in Lowndes County ranked third shortest life expectancy of Alabama counties and this was attributed to chronic health concerns,” Blackmon said. “I signed a memorandum of understanding yesterday with Health and Human Services, my original counterpart, because we take the health impact in underserved communities overwhelmingly as a priority.

“During my visit to Lowndes County, I saw firsthand the hardships and hazards that the town is faced with in its sanitary sewer collection system. The nation, as a whole, has insufficient water infrastructure which is threatening America’s security across the board. And, with risk to people’s health and to people’s jobs, peace of mind for their future and prosperity and the ability to pass it on from generation to generation is critical.”

ADEM also awarded the town $2.9 million for improvements to its drinking water system. According to Davis, the money will help ensure residents receive a sewer system they deserve.

“It will bring good clean drinking water and good clean sanitation service,” Davis said. “It will help eliminate the germs in sewage.”

Funding for statewide projects comes from multiple sources, LeFleur said. Governor Kay Ivey and the Alabama Legislature designated COVID relief dollars and in a special session, lawmakers approved $225 million of the state’s American Rescue Plan Act funds which, combined with Bipartisan dollars, will help fund infrastructure repairs and improvements.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Kelvin Lawrence, State Representative for District 69. “Ever since I was mayor here in 2012 and with two mayors prior to me, we’ve been fighting the same fight with trying to make sure we get the necessary resources to give people proper sanitation of the sewage. We’re not going to execute anything extravagant, we just want the basic needs, for people to be able to flush the toilet.”