August 17, 2008

Towns to Receive Water Upgrades

By Michael Hooper

By Michael Hooper


USDA Rural Development is investing $21.6 million in water improvement projects in 13 Kansas communities, including Burlington.

Burlington, located 62 miles south of Topeka on US-75 highway, is getting a $5.8 million loan and a $1.2 million grant from USDA Rural Development to help rebuild the town's sewer system.

"The money will be used for a $12 million sewer improvement project," said Regina Kewley, city clerk. "We have very old clay tile sewer lines all over town."

She said the old sewer lines have broken up over the years, with tree roots and deterioration. The sewer lines date to the early years of the city.

Burlington, founded in 1857, has a population of 2,721, with many residents working at nearby the Wolf Creek nuclear power plant.

Kewley said Burlington will begin construction in 2009 starting with sewer lines south of Rock Creek. Phase 2 will be north of Rock Creek.

The project also will consist of rehabilitating or replacing 111 manholes.

Kewley said some residents don't see the need, but she said the old sewer lines have caused problems for homeowners. There have been cases of sewage backup in homes because of clogging.

"Without sewer we'd be in a world of mess," she said.

USDA Rural Development state director Chuck Banks said the $21.6 million in USDA Rural Development funding will provide long-term benefits to more than 17,700 Kansans.

The funding, provided from the recently approved Farm Bill and regular USDA Rural Development's program allocation, brings the total USDA support of such projects to nearly $38 million for Kansas this year.

"USDA Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program is one of the most important community and economic development efforts this agency undertakes for rural Kansas," Banks said. "These USDA funds, combined with the agency's technical assistance which supports local leadership, helps make these critically needed services a reality."

Michael Hooper can be reached

at (785)295-1293

or [email protected]

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