U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer secured federal support Friday for the Town of Westfield to make critical repairs to the Barcelona community's aging and damaged water lines.
After Schumer's push for funding in February 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has committed a $750,000 grant and a $335,000 loan for the Barcelona Water District.
Due to the outdated system, residents and businesses in the hamlet of Barcelona have not had access to high-quality drinking water at various times in recent months, and have been forced to boil water for consumption or to purchase bottled water. The system has suffered water main breaks, causing pressure loss and inviting dangerous germs and harmful contaminants into the system. Schumer immediately jumped in to secure the more than $1 million in federal funding and loans to help make these repairs, which would otherwise be a serious burden on ratepayers and local taxpayers.
"After urging the Department of Agriculture to provide support for cleaner water in Chautauqua County, I'm glad to announce that over $1 million in federal grants and loans will allow quality drinking water to flow more reliably to more Western New York families," Schumer said. "Chautauqua residents rely on clean water for economic stability and good health, and Barcelona's system has needed critical upgrades for far too long.
These federal funds will help prevent Barcelona families from needlessly relying on bottled water because their water lines were neglected for years."
"This funding is critical to our town. I want to thank everyone who worked on this project and especially Senator Schumer who helped shepherd this funding through the federal agencies involved. With these funds we will be able to make major improvements to Barcelona's water system which has been a critical need for far too long," said Martha Bills, Westfield Town Supervisor.
Breaks, low pressure and other system issues plague water customers and the town and village who are working hard to keep the infrastructure operating.
Additionally, business growth and development in Barcelona is hampered by an inconsistent and unreliable water supply.
With this USDA recapitalization funding that Schumer has secured, the town of Westfield will take over and formalize it as a town-owned water district.
Specifically, the town will replace its 4-inch and 1-inch piping with 12-inch and 8-inch piping, isolating the leaks and increasing the water pressure.
USDA funding will help leverage public health improvements and community planning, smart growth, and development objectives.