The funds will be used to replace two-inch steel water lines in Empire with six-inch PVC lines to increase water flow and improve water pressure. Because of the undersized pipes, the community’s 248 residents have been without water service for extended periods and adequate fire protection has been difficult or impossible because of chronically low water pressure.
Walker County Commission Chairman Bruce Hamrick said the Empire community is served by the Jasper Water Board, which will make the replacements to the pipes. The board was required to apply for the grant funds through the County Commission. The commission will commit $97,492 to the project, however.
Hamrick said commission officials are pleased with the announcement, and they are committed to working with any utility board in the county.
The $350,000 grant benefiting Empire is part of $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grants for sewer and water improvements going to Walker and Fayette counties.
The city of Fayette is receiving a $450,000 grant to replace deteriorated, 60-year-old sewer lines and brick manholes.
The City of Dora is also receiving $350,000 to improve its sewer system.
Gov. Robert Bentley’s office announced the block grants on Wednesday.
“This program helps local governments develop and improve vital public services,” Bentley said in a press release. “I am pleased we can provide this assistance to improve the quality of life for hundreds of residents in Fayette and Walker counties.”
The Alabama Department of Community Affairs is administering the grants from funds made available by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. ADECA administers programs that support law enforcement and traffic safety, economic development, energy conservation, workforce development, water resource management and recreation development.