With funds from President Joe Biden’s Infrastructure Improvement Bill, a water project in Tioga County is one step closer to completion.

Recently, the USDA announced that the Upper Tioga River Regional Authority will receive more than $9 million to provide public water to the municipalities between Blossburg and Mansfield Borough.

“Our mission is to invest in rural infrastructure and iInvest in livelihood of the people in rural America and this is a perfect example,” said USDA State Director Bob Morgan.

The authority will receive a $5,074,000 loan and a $4,223,000 grant to provide water from the Blossburg Water Company to about 400 households and businesses. The corridor along Business Route 15 has historically had poor water quality with 62% of the wells testing positive for either mineral or bacteria contaminants.

The project will lay 55,000 feet of pipes to households in Covington, Putnam and Richmond Townships, construct a flow pressure regulating building and a 400,000-gallon water storage tank. Construction is tentatively set for 2023.

Water systems in rural areas are more often plagued by contamination, variations in water pressure, and can be costly for property owners to repair or replace. This project also has the potential to enhance the economy of the area, Morgan said.

“These types of investments help make communities more attractive and make them more attractive to people considering moving to rural America,” Morgan said.

The project will not only improve the water quality, but also maintain a steady flow of water to residents and businesses in the corridor along Business Route 15, he said.

The project to provide reliable, high quality water is intended to help rural residents, as are other infrastructure projects funded through the Building Back Better Bill, such as broadband, sewer and other infrastructure projects.

The additional customers will use about 70,000 gallons of water per day. There is capacity to increase that amount if new businesses locate in the corridor. Should development continue in the area and additional water is needed, the Blossburg Water Company has located additional water sources to develop.

The authority has secured a $4,233,000 grant from the USDA’s Rural Utility Service and a $5,074,000 40-year loan at 1.372% interest. The townships will each share a proportional amount to guarantee the debt.

Once bids are accepted, construction will take about two years. There will be no hook-up or connection fee, but users will be responsible for the cost to install pipes from the line to the house.

“We want to make sure living in a rural community has as many advantages as possible. What we’re doing is investing in a project here that is improving water systems for users living in the Tioga River Valley authority region,” Morgan said.

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