The city of Mabton has received a grant and loan package worth a combined $7.5 million to renovate its ailing municipal water system.
Construction crews will begin work this summer on a variety of water upgrades, including a new well, a new reservoir and new water mains using the money, about 60 percent of which comes from grants.
The rest will be loans, to be repaid by a series of rate increases passed by city officials over the years, and about $180,000 in startup money straight from city coffers.
The biggest single donor is the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development office, contributing $2.9 million, all but $92,000 of it in grants, Mario Villanueva, state director of the program, announced Friday morning at a news conference in front of City Hall.
“We’re very proud to be a part of this,” said Villanueva, who 30 years ago worked for a now-defunct Mabton nonprofit group that helped residents renovate homes and establish a food bank.
Other funding comes in the form of a $1 million Community Development Block Grant, as well as smaller loans and grants from the state Department of Health and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, a federal program administered under the nation’s Safe Water Drinking Act.
The money will go to overhaul a water system that has frequently failed and leaked in recent years.
By the end of the summer, the city plans to drill a new well, followed by replacing about 30 percent of the water mains and constructing a new 1 million gallon tower in City Park that will be about 30 feet taller than the existing two tanks.
The work comes on the heels of a $6.4 million sewage plant renovation, scheduled to come online sometime in May.
Mayor Mario Martinez calls the infrastructure improvements critical to Mabton’s present and future.
“Now we can advertise, we have water, we have sewer,” he said.