The funding, which is the largest single grant from the United States Department of Agriculture in its history, will start the wastewater treatment project's Phase A, which will replace an old sewage treatment system and will help ensure that 263 families in the Upper Crooked Creek and Lower Copperas Mine Fork areas of Logan County will have sewer service.
"No one understands the importance of a strong and sound water and wastewater program more than West Virginians," Rahall said. "We all know the value of clean water. It is as important to life as life itself. It was no quirk of fate that man's earliest economies were born on the banks of river valleys. Good water sustains a better life, and, by the way, it doesn't hurt property values, either.
This $8.7 million in project funding will cover the majority of the cost to replace an outdated and heavily burdened system and will help ensure that 263 additional families will be served by a clean, modern wastewater system."
The total cost of the Logan 3A extension project is $11,740,600. Funding previously awarded the project includes $1.5 million through Small Cities Block Grant and $1.5 million from the USDA Rural Development Loan through federal stimulus funding. The grant was for a total of $8,728,600 and the PSD was given a low-interest loan from the USDA in the amount of $1,512,000.
The Logan County PSD currently owns and operates a wastewater collection and treatment system serving approximately 1,346 customers within the county. The Logan 3A wastewater extension project will extend sewer service to the additional 263 houses that currently utilize poorly functioning septic systems or discharge wastewater directly into local streams.
Construction will consist of the installation of approximately 35,900 feet of gravity pipeline, 550 feet of force main, 304 manholes, one pumping station, nine grinder pumping stations, cleanouts and other related appurtenances.
Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jay Rockefeller were not able to be at the presentation, but sent congratulatory statements.
"I'm going to keep fighting long and hard to keep building for my fellow West Virginians the foundation, the fundamental state of the art infrastructure no locality could ever afford on its own -- so we can not only compete, but prosper with the rest of our great nation," Rahall said. "To me, that is a critical role for good government."
Bobby Lewis, West Virginia's USDA rural development state director, presented the certificate for the grant, along with Rahall, to Ben Lowe, PSD chairman.
Logan County Commission President Art Kirkendoll said people in big cities take water and sewage for granted, but that's not a luxury everyone in southern West Virginia can enjoy.
"In Appalachia, that does not exist, but it will," Kirkendoll said, smiling.
Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin praised the teamwork it took to get the funding.
"There is no place where that money could be better spent," Tomblin said. "This will really improve the environment and will help beautify Logan County."
Senator Ron Stollings (D-Boone) also spoke at the event.
"Clean water and sewage is critical," Stollings said. "We're taking a big step for public health here. We always worry about getting water to people, but sewage is just as important."
Kirkendoll thanked Rahall, Tomblin, Lewis and other elected officials for working together on the project.
"We're getting this money because we're persistent and we only ask for what we need," Kirkendoll said.
Kirkendoll said water, sewage, schools and other infrastructure is key to the success of any area.
"If anyone is going to come to your area, the first things they look at are your water, sewage and schools," Kirkendoll said. "This is a step. Let's make sure Phase B doesn't happen in 2023. Let's start working on phases B and C in the coming months. Let's get mainline sewage and water done."