Iowa Lakes Regional Water receives $2.2 million loan

Friday, May 2, 2008

By Russ Mitchell

Daily Reporter Staff

A Spencer-based regional water system received a significant loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to an announcement Thursday from U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley.

Iowa Lakes Regional Water in Spencer will receive a $2,236,000 loan to construct and improve service in the Iowa Lakes Regional Water area. The funding will allow the rural water system to add approximately 150 new customers.

The loan came through the Office of Rural Development. The agency has awarded grants and loans totaling $6.3 million to Iowa through the Community Facility Grant program and the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant.

"The funding that has been announced will be used primarily to add additional users within the existing service area that we have in Clay County, Buena Vista County, Dickinson County, parts of Palo Alto County and parts of Emmet County," said Iowa Lakes Regional Water CEO Randy Van Dyke.

All total, Iowa Lakes Regional Water has $67 million in funding applications. Van Dyke said the rural water district has applied for additional funds to expand its area in its eastern-tier counties. Iowa Lakes Regional Water currently only serves a small group of customers on the western edge of Emmet and Palo Alto counties.

Other applications target expansion in the Minnesota counties of Jackson and Martin.

Thursday's USDA loan reflects an annual effort to improve options for potential rural water system members who want to see an upgrade in the quality or quantity of their current water service.

"These funds will help rural Iowa get the facilities and water distribution that is needed," Grassley said in his announcement. "These are important projects that will be a benefit to each community."

The Community Facility Grant program provides grants to assist in the development of essential community facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 20,000 in population. The Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant program provides loans to develop water and waste disposal systems in rural areas and towns with a population of up to 10,000 people and rural areas with no population limits.

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