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Small Tri-State city gets $7-million for a project to improve drinking water

The city of La Harpe will receive a $2.5 million grant form Department of Agriculture. The city is also eligible for a $4-million loan for a water and waste disposal project.

The Environmental Protection Agency says $743-billion is needed to fix America's water systems.

La Harpe, Illinois will be spending $7-million to improve its water quality.

U.S. Congressman Darin LaHood made the announcement this week.

The city of La Harpe will receive a $2.5 million grant form Department of Agriculture.

The city is also eligible for a $4-million loan for a water and waste disposal project.

Since 2015, city officials knew they needed to do something different with La Harpe's water system.

"With the rules and regulations of a surface treatment plant getting more stringent, it was just time to make a transition from a surface treatment plant to a reverse osmosis system." La Harpe Ward 3 Alderman Randy Shumaker said.

The community of more than 1,200 people has received many violations from Illinois' Attorney General's Office for poor water quality.

"There is talk of possible revamping these systems that we have in place but the plan is to eliminate the surface treatment plant and with doing that, the plant that we have right here behind me didn't have the capability to run the supply and demand for the community," Shumaker said.

Congressman LaHood says investments such as this one are essential to supporting rural communities.

"The overall project for the new water treatment facility and two wells, is going to run just over $7-million dollars,"Shumaker said.

The $6.5 million from the Department of Ag and another $500,000 grant will go toward upgrades to the water storage tanks and the replacement of water mains and pipelines.

Residents may also notice an increase on their water bills next spring.

"Rather than making one big jump in all of the water bills, we want to see a gradual increase because we knew an increase was gonna happen," Shumaker said. "So with that, we have made our increase last May and we know that we are going to have increases coming up over the next three years."

The increase is projected to be $13 dollars total for the three years.

The city plans to award a bid to contractors in January.

Completion of the new reverse osmosis system should be completed by June of 2020.

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