Missouri DNR awards grant to Atchison County to create regional water supply

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded a $120,000 grant to the Atchison County Wholesale Water Commission to take the initial steps in creating a regional water supply. The Atchison County Wholesale Water Commission consists of the following entities: Atchison County Public Water Supply District Number 1, Nodaway County Public Water Supply District Number 1 and the cities of Tarkio, Fairfax and Rock Port...

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, July 23, 2008 -- The Missouri Department of Natural Resources has awarded a $120,000 grant to the Atchison County Wholesale Water Commission to take the initial steps in creating a regional water supply.

The Atchison County Wholesale Water Commission consists of the following entities: Atchison County Public Water Supply District Number 1, Nodaway County Public Water Supply District Number 1 and the cities of Tarkio, Fairfax and Rock Port.

"We are grateful to the Department of Natural Resources for recognizing the needs of northwest Missouri," said Kyra Mills, chair of Atchison County Wholesale Water Commission. "This money is going to help us take the first steps to acquire the necessary funding to construct additional wells and a water treatment plant to supply clean water to the surrounding area."

"These funds will allow the commission to hire an engineering firm to conduct a detailed study of water system alternatives and advise the commission on how to achieve and maintain compliance with drinking water rules and regulations," said Doyle Childers, director of the Department of Natural Resources. "Providing this money will help the Atchison County Wholesale Water Commission become the first leg of Sketch 7 in the Water Partnership for Northwest Missouri project, which will provide abundant and safe drinking water for the entire region."

Sketch No. 7 is the proposal selected by the Water Partnership for Northwest Missouri to provide a more secure water source for the region. Sketch No. 7 includes plans for seven hubs, which will supply water through large transmission lines to the entire 12-county region. Cities and water districts will obtain water through a master meter and then serve individual customers through their existing water distribution system.

As a recipient of the funds, the wholesale water commission will hire an engineer to develop a facility plan as a necessary step in securing additional funding to construct alluvial wells and a water treatment plant. The facility plan will include a recommendation on the best locations for the well field, treatment plant and transmission system. The funding will also provide for an evaluation of quantity and quality of groundwater sources. The commission will be required to make a good faith effort to obtain the funding needed to construct the project as recommended in the facility plan.

The Water Partnership for Northwest Missouri was established in June 2005 to develop a long-term regional plan to provide water to northwestern Missouri. The project, which involves the public water systems in a 12-county area, includes Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Caldwell, Clinton, Daviess, Dekalb, Gentry, Harrison, Holt, Nodaway and Worth counties. Today, there are several thousand Missouri residents in this region of the state without access to public drinking water. Many of these residents use shallow wells or cisterns or haul water for several miles from approved public water systems. "Today, many public water system customers and private well users could quickly find themselves without water in times of serious drought," Childers said. "We can't wait until the bucket's dry before we start to solve the problem. While some who are without service now would be served under sketch #7, the larger issue is providing more stable service in times of drought to those already being served."

For more information on the Water Partnership for Northwest Missouri or to view a report on phase one of the project, visit www.nwmorcog.org/water.

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