McBain City officials held a groundbreaking ceremony Monday for a $6.9 million water system improvement project. About two dozen residents, local and state officials attended the ceremony at the site of a new water treatment plant.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work from a lot of people to get us to this point,” said Joey Roberts, McBain’s mayor. ‘I want to thank all the folks who made this possible, from the city council, utility committee, clerk, treasurer and our wonder Department of Public Works staff who spent countless hours behind the scenes. They have been dedicated to see this project get started.”
The improvement project will include constructing a new water treatment plant, a new municipal well, improvements to the city’s existing Well No. 4, and abandonment of two older wells. In addition, improvements will be made to the existing water storage tank, replacement of 11,000 feet of watermain and associated water services, and new water meters will be installed.
“This project will improve the water quality throughout the City’s water system and address issues they have struggled with for years, including discoloration and sediment in their distribution system,” said Ken Mlcek, Fleis & VandenBrink engineer and project manager.
“The project is huge for this city and the grants we were able to secure is wonderful and pretty remarkable. We are very excited today and very thankful,” Roberts added. “We’re taking 60-70 percent of our water system and completely redoing it.”
The project is being funded by a $4.4 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program and a low interest USDA $2.048 million loan. In addition, the City received a $430,000 loan from the state’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF) program.
“I want to than Joey for all the hard work,” said State Senator Curt VanderWall. “Without you the project would probably not be where it’s at. I don’t have a lot of folks reach out as many times as you did.
“We worked through the little snags and got them done … and here we are. I am really pleased for the people here in McBain. We’re providing clean water.”
John DeVol, F&V president, said the project began in 2018 when F&V was hired to assist the city in evaluating and navigating water quality issues.
“It’s not so much a safety concern as it is an aesthetic one. The water frequently comes out a little bit rust colored orange and it causes residents and business concern,” DeVol said. “We’ve done a lot of work in the past years trying to identify the problem.”
DeVol said the City has tried to mitigate the discoloration issue over the years, including frequent flushing, but it has not solved the issue. This project will improve the water quality, DeVol added.
“A lot of kudos goes to the city leadership for having the foresight to get two funding agencies to come together on this project,” DeVol said.
F&V provided planning assistance, funding assistance, design engineering, and construction engineering services. Construction is underway and is expected to be completed in August of 2022.