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$2 million grant to help with water line projects

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

The City of Midwest City was awarded $2 million in grants from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board for water line extensions and development of master plan for the city’s water and sewer system.

The OWRB grants are funded through the Oklahoma American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant program along matching local funds.

Midwest City is extending water service on the north side to promote development. Plans include a 12-inch water line that will run from N. Air Depot Blvd. and NE 23rd St. north to NE 36th St. A second line will connect the wastewater treatment facility to NE 23rd St., creating a looped system.

The city is extending water and sewer lines to the new Centrillium Proteins plant that is being developed on NE 36th St.

The utilities are expected to cost about $5.2 million, which is about twice as much as originally projected.

“The cost overrun is very painful,” said Robert Coleman, economic development director for Midwest City. “We expected it to come in about half of what the engineer’s estimate now is.”

The new water line will also connect to the wastewater treatment facility which is currently being served by Oklahoma City. The new line will save the city about $50,000 annually in water costs, Coleman said.

The sewer line will be added on the west side of Centrillium. Construction of the line includes crossing several creeks, which has increased the price tag for the project.

Coleman said the city is using a portion of the ARPA funds it received for the water and sewer line project. The city will need to pay about $2.3 million for the remainder of the cost.

The master plan for the sewer and water system will help the city as it plans towards infrastructure improvements in the future.

The ARPA grant program is administered by the OWRB with funding from the U.S. Department of the Treasury and appropriated for the Water and Wastewater American Rescue Plan Act grants program. This OWRB program has been structured to provide communities and other eligible entities financial resources necessary to address water and wastewater infrastructure needs within their systems. Since 1983 the Water Resources Board has approved over $6.9 billion in loans and grants for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout Oklahoma.

Joe Freeman, chief of the OWRB’s Financial Assistance Division, calculated that the City’s customers will save an estimated $3,276,700 compared to traditional financing.

“We are grateful to State Legislators from the Midwest City area for their continued support of our financial assistance programs,” said Julie Cunningham, Executive Director of the OWRB.

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