State gives $1.4 million grant for Tryon water projects

Published 2:25 pm Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Town of Tryon has received emergency grant funding from the state for three projects that will enhance its water supply.

Gov. Mike Easley announced last week that $1.4 million was awarded for the projects that will allow Tryon to obtain water from Saluda, Columbus and its former mountain water source.

Tryon, Saluda and Columbus applied together for the grant funding through the state&squo;s Drinking Water Emergency Loan Program. The towns must match the grant funding for a total project cost of approximately $2.8 million.

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The projects include a line to connect to Saluda, which will allow Tryon to receive water from Hendersonville, Saluda&squo;s water source.

The grant funding will also go toward work on the connection between Tryon and Columbus, to allow Tryon to receive water from Columbus. Currently, the valve only allows Tryon to supply Columbus.

Funds will also be used to allow Tryon to use water from its former mountain water source at the town&squo;s treatment plant.

The grant for Tryon&squo;s water supply was one of three that Gov. Easley announced last week totalling $10 million.

The state also awarded $2.2 million for Blowing Rock to connect with Boone&squo;s water system and $5.8 million for Lenoir to help pay for a new water intake and pump station to provide access to a deeper location in its source of drinking water.

The governor says the funding was provided after he instructed the hardest hit towns to identify ways to ensure adequate water supplies for citizens during this and future droughts. The loan program is administered by the Division of Environmental Health&squo;s Public Water Supply Section.

The three awarded projects were eligible for state emergency loan funds because they address a potential drought emergency in a water system identified as a &dquo;Tier 1&dquo; system. Those systems are considered to be the most vulnerable to drought either because they lack adequate access to either potable water or water for treatment and are at risk of a water supply crisis if conditions persist, or because they have less than 100 days of water supply remaining.

&dquo;These systems are facing the most severe water shortages resulting from the recent drought,&dquo; said Easley. &dquo;The drought is persisting, and these systems have worked with state officials to identify new water sources. This money will enable these communities to connect to new sources to help avoid the dire circumstances they faced last year.&dquo;