Press Release

McAlester Public Works Authority

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December 12, 2021

Press Release

McAlester Public Works Authority receives $32,500,000 water system funding from OWRB

OKLAHOMA CITY – The McAlester Public Works Authority (Authority) received approval for $32,500,000 in funding Tuesday from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to improve the Authority’s water infrastructure.  Construction of upgrades and improvements to the water system will be financed by the Oklahoma Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) where $1,100,000 of the loan will be in the form of loan forgiveness.

The Authority will utilize the proceeds to replace 148,500 feet of water transmission and distribution lines throughout the city and to rehabilitate three (3) water storage tanks. These improvements will enable the city to enhance hydraulic capacity throughout the distribution system benefiting residents and businesses in and near the Authority.

Joe Freeman, chief of the OWRB’s Financial Assistance Division calculated that the Authority’s customers will save an estimated $8,726,100 over the life of the 30-year loan compared to traditional financing.  The DWSRF loan will be secured with a lien on the revenues of the Authority’s water, sewer, and sanitation systems and a two cents sales tax. McAlester Mayor, John Browne, shared, "We would like to thank the Board for their help in providing funding to replace large sections of the City's water lines. This project will go a long way to address the issue by addressing 45% of the large transmission lines and 15% of the full system." Mayor Browne explained that a rate increase was required for these infrastructure improvements. Public education was shared and citizen support recognized by a public vote passage with 80% approval.

The DWSRF program is administered by the OWRB and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality (ODEQ) with partial funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The DWSRF program has provided approximately $1.7 billion in drinking water loans to provide communities the resources necessary to maintain and improve the infrastructure that protects our valuable water resources statewide.

Since 1983, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board has approved over $5.3 billion in loans and grants for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements throughout Oklahoma.

Julie Cunningham, Executive Director of the OWRB, and Scott Thompson, Executive Director of the ODEQ, express their sincere appreciation to State Senator Warren Hamilton, Representative Jim Grego, and Representative David Smith for their support of the DWSRF program.