Wednesday, January 28, 2009

GEFA Board of Directors Approves $9.4 Million in Loans to Finance Water and Sewer Infrastructure Improvements

As part of Governor Sonny Perdue’s vision for sustainable economic development, Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA) Executive Director Chris Clark announced today the approval of four Georgia Fund loan commitments of $7,932,800 and one Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF) sewer loan of $1,500,000. The GEFA board of directors approved the commitments to help finance water and sewer infrastructure projects for Bartow County, Madison County, Rockdale County and the cities of Monroe and Remerton.

“Infrastructure improvements increase the quality of life for Georgia citizens, and they help cities and counties create jobs and promote economic development,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I’m pleased these investments are being made in water and sewer infrastructure.”

“GEFA’s programs are a tangible commitment by Governor Perdue and the General Assembly to assist local governments across the state with their efforts to provide clean water, sewer and solid waste improvements,” said Chris Clark. “In addition to the public’s health and safety, these projects are critical to a community’s ability to prosper economically.”

Clark expressed appreciation to Governor Perdue and the Georgia General Assembly for their support. He credited Governor Perdue’s commitment to helping Georgia cities and counties finance infrastructure development as one of the main contributors to GEFA’s success.

“The projects that we agreed to finance today illustrate how GEFA helps communities of all sizes, in all areas of the state,” said Matt Beasley, chairman of the GEFA board of directors and mayor of the city of Hartwell. “From the smallest of communities to the largest, GEFA is investing in communities that are willing to invest in themselves.”

GEFA helps communities prepare for economic growth and development through the provision of low interest loans and grants. The Georgia Fund is a state funded loan program administered by GEFA for water, wastewater and solid waste infrastructure projects. The loan program has maximum flexibility and accessibility, providing fast loan approvals. The Georgia Fund finances loans to local government for projects such as water and sewer lines, treatment plants, pumping stations, wells, water storage tanks and water meters. Low interest loans from this program range from $20,000 to $50 million.

The CWSRF is a federal loan program administered by GEFA for wastewater infrastructure projects. Eligible projects include a wide variety of wastewater collection and treatment project and storm water projects.
Details of the loans approved today are below:

Bartow County

Bartow County was approved for a Georgia Fund loan of $2,500,000 to install and relocate water lines. Bartow County will pay a 4.27 percent interest rate on the 20-year loan.

Madison County Industrial Development and Building Authority

The Madison County Industrial Development and Building Authority (IDBA) was approved for a Georgia Fund loan of $1,611,000 to construct a wastewater treatment and disposal system serving commercial development along the US 29 corridor. The project includes collection lines, a lift station and a six-inch force main. The Madison County IDBA will pay a 4.27 percent interest rate on the 20-year loan.

City of Monroe

The city of Monroe was approved for a Georgia Fund loan of $3,429,800 to construct water mains that convey raw water from Briscoe Reservoir to the city’s water treatment plant. Monroe will pay a 4.27 percent interest rate on the 20-year loan.

City of Remerton

The city of Remerton was approved for a Georgia Fund loan of $392,000 to install meters and backflow assemblies to connect to the city of Valdosta’s water system. The city of Remerton is eligible for a discounted loan rate as a Georgia Signature Community, and will pay a 3.77 percent interest rate on the 15-year loan.

Rockdale County

Rockdale County was approved for a Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan of $1,500,000 to implement watershed restoration measures in the Lakefield urban watershed for the purposes of improving water quality, reducing flooding, reducing stream bank erosion and improving aquatic habitat downstream. Rockdale County will pay three percent interest on the 20-year loan.

Cities and counties interested in more information regarding GEFA loans should visit or call (404) 584-1000.
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Interior Ignored Science When Limiting Water to Grand Canyon

Interior Department officials ignored key scientific findings when they limited water flows in the Grand Canyon to optimize generation of electric power there, risking damage to the ecology of the spectacular national landmark, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

Click here to read The Washington Post article.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Facility Pours Needed Water Into Baghdad

A ceremony marked the official opening of a new water treatment facility that will deliver much-needed fresh water to the people of northeastern Baghdad.

About 200 people, including Baghdad Mayor Navet Al Essawi and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker, attended the Jan. 21 ceremony at the Sadr City Rusafa Water Treatment Facility, located in the Hay Ur neighborhood of Baghdad's Adhamiyah district.

The modern facility will help shape the future of Baghdad and Iraq, Crocker said.

"This is truly a strategic project," the ambassador said. "It provides 96,000 cubic meters of water to Baghdad per day, and the United States of America is proud and pleased to have financed this project and to see it through to completion with our close friends and our partners in the mayoralty and the government."

The $65 million facility, completed in October, took three years to build. It provides 4,000 cubic meters of fresh water per hour to northeastern Baghdad, to include 27 sectors of Sadr City.

"This project is the most important and probably the biggest project for Sadr City," Al Essawi said. "This project and others like it will clear the path of terrorism."

The ceremony served not only to demonstrate a return of essential services to the region, but was a symbol of closure for an area that had been marred by violence for so long, said Maj. Brian Horine, the civil military operations officer for the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

"This opening is about what the government of Iraq has done for the people. This facility was started more than two years ago when Sadr City was in the height of bad times," the Phoenix native said. "Today, security and stability has returned, allowing this to happen."

The mayor thanked coalition forces for their help and guidance in making the new facility a reality.

Horine said the water treatment facility is just a start to many equally important projects soon to be completed, including a nearby electric substation that will distribute reliable power to the people of Sadr City.

Baghdad and Afghan government officials are committed to the people, the mayor said.

"The people of Sadr City and their neighbors have suffered from a water deficiency for 10 years. Now they can rest and be secure that they have someone to look after them," Al Essawi said.

(Author Maj. Mike Humphreys serves in the 4th Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.) ---
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

City of Savannah Now Accepting Proposals for waterSmart Landscape Challenge

/PRNewswire/ -- The City of Savannah is seeking proposals for the waterSmart Landscape Challenge to develop a sustainable, water-efficient garden for Bryan Square on Hutchinson Island as part of an overall effort by the city and state of Georgia to show residents how to create and maintain landscapes that use less water.

All design proposals must be received by Feb. 27, and all participants must hold a valid Georgia business license in at least one county. The winning designer will be awarded a $35,000 contract with the City of Savannah to install the garden in Bryan Square.

Bryan Square is located on Hutchinson Island and sits between the ferry landing and the entrance to the new Savannah International Trade and Convention Center, where thousands of visitors arrive each year. The property is also part of the Savannah Harbor at Hutchinson Island development, which will rely significantly on reclaimed water for landscaping needs.

"There is a tremendous amount of creative talent within Georgia's landscape design industry," said Laura Walker, administrator of Savannah's Environmental Affairs Department. "The designs submitted for the Challenge will not only promote water-efficient landscaping, they will also provide a wonderful showcase for new ideas that can be translated into residential gardening."

"Maintaining beautiful lawns and gardens requires much less water than most people realize. Overwatering harms plants and wastes a valuable community resource," said Deron Davis, director of the waterSmart program for the state Environmental Protection Division. "By creating waterSmart landscapes, homeowners can significantly reduce their water consumption - and their water bills."

About half of the water used in a single-family home during the course of the year will be used on landscaping, and much of that water is lost due to evaporation or runoff caused by overwatering, according to research.

The waterSmart Landscape Challenge's main objectives are to promote water conservation and education, while highlighting the creative potential of waterSmart landscape principles, specifically selecting plants that suit the location and minimizing the use of fertilizers and pesticides. The selection of the right plants used in the right places will yield landscapes that, once established, can be maintained with little or no supplemental watering.

In order to maximize public awareness of water-efficient landscaping and irrigation techniques, proposals will be evaluated in a two-stage process. In the first round, a panel comprised of landscaping professionals and knowledgeable representatives selected by the city of Savannah will select between two and four top designs. In the second round of judging, residents of Savannah and across the state will select the final design through a period of online voting. Installation will occur according to the city of Savannah's needs, and will be paid for through a contract with the city.

The city of Savannah is working in partnership with the waterSmart program of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. A Request for Proposal, which includes rules and site information, can be obtained online at .

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Governor Perdue Recommends Phil Foil for GEFA Executive Director

Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that Phil Foil, deputy commissioner of operations and federal affairs for the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), is his recommended choice to succeed Chris Clark as the executive director of the Georgia Environmental Facilities Authority (GEFA). The GEFA board of directors will meet January 27, to consider the Governor’s recommendation.

“It is my privilege to recommend Phil Foil as GEFA’s new executive director,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Phil is a respected leader at DCA and throughout state government. The GEFA staff and the customers they serve will benefit greatly from his leadership.”

GEFA provides financial assistance and administers programs that encourage stewardship of the environment and promote economic development statewide. GEFA is the lead state agency for energy planning and alternative fuels; manages Conserve Georgia, the Governor’s Energy Challenge and the Georgia Land Conservation Program; maintains state-owned fuel storage tanks; and offers financing for reservoir and water supply, water quality, storm water, solid waste and recycling infrastructure.

“I deeply appreciate the Governor’s recommendation that I serve as the GEFA executive director,” said Phil Foil. “Through its many programs and initiatives, GEFA promotes sustainable economic development and the conservation of Georgia’s natural resources. I look forward to this mission that is so vital to the future of our state.”

Foil, 41, has served in a senior management position with DCA since July 2003. He currently manages the agency’s operations and serves as DCA’s federal affairs and congressional liaison. Foil successfully led DCA’s pursuit of the 2008 Georgia Oglethorpe Progress Award (the Georgia version of the Malcolm Baldrige Quality Award). Prior to joining DCA, Foil was a public relations consultant and a client services manager for Automatic Data Processing (ADP).

Foil earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Georgia. He is also a graduate of the Georgia Leadership Institute’s Executive Development Program and the National Council of State Housing Agencies’ Advanced Executive Development Program at Notre Dame University.

Foil resides in Winder with his wife, Paula, and their two daughters.
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Monday, January 12, 2009

Statement from Governor Sonny Perdue Concerning Denial of Supreme Court Review of Water Case

Governor Sonny Perdue issued the following statement today concerning the denial by the U.S. Supreme Court of a Georgia request for the Court to review one issue of the ongoing tri-state water negotiations:

“While we are disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today to not correct a flawed ruling by the D.C. Circuit, it is important to remember that this decision simply maintains the status quo in terms of the operation of Lake Lanier by the Army Corps of Engineers.

We felt strongly that Supreme Court review of this case could have resolved a major piece of our ongoing water negotiations, and we will now move forward continuing to work with our neighbors and other stakeholders to reach consensus on a plan that fairly shares our limited resources and adequately protects the headwaters of the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin”
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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Drinking Water Infrastructure Investment Could Create 400,000 Jobs

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Water Works Association (AWWA), the authoritative resource on safe water, is urging Congress to include funding for drinking water infrastructure projects in the stimulus legislation now being considered.

Today, more than $10 billion in drinking water infrastructure projects around the nation are shovel-ready and can be underway as soon as funds are committed. These projects would put more than 400,000 Americans to work on aging water mains, leaking pipes, treatment plants, pump stations, storage reservoirs, elevated tanks, security safeguards and other needs.

"As Congress again considers legislation to stimulate the economy, the nation's drinking water utilities stand ready to create immediate jobs and lasting economic benefits through investment in water infrastructure," said Tom Curtis, AWWA's Washington D.C.-based deputy executive director.

While other forms of economic stimulus such as taxpayer refunds or stimulus checks may provide a quick infusion of money into the economy, their effects can be short-lived. By comparison, infrastructure projects benefit the economy over a more sustained period of time by creating quality jobs across all tax brackets, creating demand for the services and products that businesses and industry bring to market, and by providing long-lasting benefits to society as a whole, such as health protection and fire protection.

Local water systems across the country deliver water for all our society's needs - from first responders to all aspects of our businesses and personal lives. But much of our water infrastructure was constructed between 80 and 100 years ago, and is nearing the end of its functional lifespan.

"Our water systems are critical to our public health and safety today and in the future, and there's no better way to put Americans to work," Curtis said.

A 2001 study by AWWA estimated the cost of replacing existing pipes over the next two decades will top $250 billion.

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