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Saturday, July 13, 2024

$6.7M grant announced for water infrastructure improvements

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Reed hosted an event in Oakman on Wednesday, June 5, to announce $6.7 million in grant awards for water infrastructure and capacity improvements in communities of need in northwest Alabama. This comes in response to portions of Walker, Fayette, and Tuscaloosa Counties experiencing an extended period of water shortages in January.

These outages and shortages occurred because of an extended period of drought accompanied by freezing weather in the area. Because of these two weather conditions taking place simultaneously for a prolonged period, an incredible strain was placed on water infrastructure, water tank capacity, and reserve tank capacity in northwest Alabama.

In some cases, particularly for residents in the Oakman and Parrish communities in south Walker County, families faced low water pressure or a complete lack of water usage for 16 days.  

“The most important component of being a public servant is service,” said Senator Greg Reed. “In response to this crisis, we have worked incredibly hard to track down every possible resource available to make certain this type of situation does not occur again. I want to make certain our area has every resource possible for the purpose of continuing to make this part of Alabama an incredible place to live, work, raise a family, and call home. It is my hope and expectation that these resources will be used to further that purpose to their fullest potential for residents of this area.”

These infrastructure grants were provided predominately through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) along with a private match from Warrior Met Coal. 

“It was a pleasure to join Senate President Pro Tem Greg Reed and local leaders in Oakman to mark the great progress in improving water service for parts of Walker, Fayette, and Tuscaloosa counties,” said ADECA Director Kenneth Boswell. “ADECA is a partnership agency under Gov. Kay Ivey, and we are pleased to help with grant funding for improvements to this vital water infrastructure that will serve both residents and commerce in these areas well in the coming months and years.”

Other state leaders who worked closely to ensure resources were provided to the area were able to join Senator Reed in Oakman. 

“I could not be more pleased that water infrastructure improvement grants are coming to our area,” said Representative Bryan Brinyark. “This part of Alabama experienced significant challenges with the water supply in January, and $6.7 million dollars will make a huge difference for people to  ensure our infrastructure is meeting citizens’ needs. I am thankful for all who were involved at the federal, state, and local levels to make this happen and solve this issue for people in our communities.”

“We are incredibly grateful for this grant and the support from Governor Ivey, Director Boswell, and Director LeFleur,” said Representative Tim Wadsworth. “We are grateful for the cooperation of all officials in securing these funds, and I know the citizens of Walker County are grateful.”

“I am thrilled that $6.7 million dollars has been secured to improve the water infrastructure for citizens of South Walker, Fayette, and Tuscaloosa Counties,” said Representative Matt Woods. I want to thank ADECA, ADEM, Warrior Met, and Senator Greg Reed for their commitment to bolster the water supply to areas that experienced a significant outage during the extreme cold temperatures last winter. This is a huge win for the people who are served by the water authorities in Oakman and Parrish. It will also help sustain industrial mining operations for years to come, which provide good paying jobs for hundreds of hardworking families that call this area home.”

Local leaders and officials from Walker, Fayette, and Tuscaloosa Counties were in attendance for the announcement. These projects have been fully funded and are in varying stages of the bid and construction processes. It is local officials’ hope that these projects can be completed by June 2026. 

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