McAuliffe announces $450K for water system expansion in Buchanan County
Buchanan County will receive a federal grant of nearly $450,250 to provide public water to an additional 15 homes in Southwest Virginia that have been affected by past coal mining practices. The water project has been selected for construction funding under Virginia’s Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Grant program administered by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME).
“Today’s announcement provides critical funding to provide safe, clean drinking water to the homes of several Buchanan County residents,” said Governor McAuliffe. “In the last five years, the AML grant program has supported more than $31 million in improvement projects and more than 1,400 jobs in Southwest Virginia. This program is an important way for us to build the new Virginia economy by creating jobs and directly improving the lives of our citizens in the region.”
“With today’s announcement, Buchanan County has received now a total of $27.25 million in AML grants for water supply replacement projects, providing clean water to 2,212 homes,” added Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. “I am pleased that more residents in Buchanan County will receive this critical infrastructure. Clean public water service is vital to the healthy development and progress of our communities across the Commonwealth, including our coal-impacted communities.”
This Abandoned Mine Land grant funding will help fund an expansion of the sixth phase, Phase VI-B, of the Hurley Regional Water Project, which extends public water service into the Hurley community of Buchanan County. The original project, which leveraged a federal grant of $1 million to Buchanan County, installed 13.5 miles of water lines, two pump stations and two tanks to help bring public water to 163 households. This expansion project was made possible after the project came in under budget of the grant money provided towards Phase V this project under the 2014 grant award. The funding that remains will provide clean water to homes not originally included in the ongoing Hurley Phase VI project.
Reclamation fees paid by the coal industry have funded the replacement of nearly 8,800 domestic water supplies that were affected by mining before the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 was passed. In addition to providing needed public water supplies, this project also creates a number of local construction jobs.
Funding for the DMME’s water supply replacement projects is through reclamation fees paid by Virginia’s coal industry. Since 1984, the agency has awarded $47.8 million to water projects throughout Southwest Virginia. For more information on the AML grant program, please visit www.dmme.virginia.gov.