The City of Cairo is set to receive a water improvement project funded by Georgia’s Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWSRF).
According to Chris Addleton, Cairo City manager, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA) has approved the City of Cairo for a low interest rate loan in the amount of $3.5 million for a new water plant near Cairo Municipal Airport.
The loan comes at an interest rate of 6.6 percent with a $500,000 loan forgiveness.
The new water treatment plant will include two deep wells, a 500,000-gallon groundwater storage tank and a building to hold the high service pumps. There will also be treatment vessels for any high level of arsenic in the water, which ordering to some Cairo citizens, is a problem in the city.
The arsenic treatment portion of the project costs $1.3 million.
GEFA required a public hearing for the water treatment projects.
“Really, the purpose is to inform the public of the need of the improvement,” said Addleton.
Mayor Bobby Burns Sr. opened the public hearing and quickly discovered that citizens are “delighted” about the installation of a new water treatment plant.
Richard Hartsfield said, “I was delighted to hear about the plant because I have been concerned about the arsenic levels for months and I have ceased drinking the city water because of my concerns. This is going to help me as a citizen and I’m delighted with your work and I really appreciate that. Thank you.”
Aline Rundle of Cairo, holding a water bottle, addressed the council, saying she has faced high arsenic levels in the water at her home.
She said, “My husband, James, about nine months ago, came down with high levels of arsenic in his blood and so it caused us to check the water. We discovered that the water had high levels of arsenic in it. Some people in the neighborhood also discovered they had high levels of arsenic in their water as well. We are very thankful that you are doing this.”
Rundle continued, “I don’t know if you know this or not, but we discovered that fluoride cannot be in the water unless it has arsenic as a carrier. They put fluoride in the water with additional arsenic. We could save a lot of money by not putting additional fluoride in it. That may be something you can research.”
Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.