U.S. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and U.S. Representative Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.4th) today announced $500,000 in funding for the Grundy County water supply from the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC).
“I’m glad to see this funding coming to Grundy County that will provide safe drinking water to nearly 3,000 residents,” Sen. Lamar Alexander said. “ARC’s continued investment in our rural communities is bringing a better way of life to many Tennesseans.”
“These significant infrastructure improvements will ensure area residents continue to receive safe, potable water service and promote economic growth in the region,” Sen. Bob Corker said. “I thank the ARC for its continued investment in the future of East Tennessee and all of Appalachia.”
“During the height of the drought last year when Grundy and several surrounding counties were out or running out of water a great many people were left in need. In certain cases people are still in need,” said Congressman Lincoln Davis. “Many of our rural counties are suffering from what I call an infrastructure deficit and I'm very happy to see the ARC and USDA Rural Development continuing to step up and invest in badly needed services.”
This funding will help Grundy County to extend water distribution in the southern Cumberland Plateau area. The ARC funds, along with a Rural Development grant of $150,000 and loan of $500,000, will provide a safe, potable water source for 2,721 households. Long-term regional drought has left the area’s water systems with limited options for source water leading to the implementation of severe conservation measures. The project will develop a permanent water source connection for the southern Cumberland Plateau area to the Tennessee River via the South Pittsburg water treatment plant. It is the first of an $11 million, multi-phase project that will eventually serve all four public water utility providers located in the target area.
The ARC is a federal-state partnership that supports economic development and improved quality of life in Appalachia. Appalachia, as defined in the legislation from which the ARC derives its authority, is a 200,000-square-mile region that follows the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi. It includes all of West Virginia and parts of 12 other states: Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. About 23 million people live in the 410 counties of the Appalachian Region; 42 percent of the Region's population is rural, compared with 20 percent of the national population.
The Tennessee counties included as part of the ARC include: Anderson, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, Carter, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, De Kalb, Fentress, Franklin, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hawkins, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lawrence, Lewis, Loudon, McMinn, Macon, Marion, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Overton, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Sullivan, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, and White.