ELIZABETHTOWN: Town using loan to improve water quality

ELIZABETHTOWN — Nearly $1.4 million has been earmarked for a Sandcreek Township community to ensure residents have safe drinking water.

The community of Elizabethtown is using a $687,000 loan to update and improve its wastewater facility, supplemented with $700,000 from the federal Community Development Block Grant program, according to a USDA news release.

Once completed, the upgrade will improve the functionality of the wastewater system, bring it into compliance with state standards, and help maintain safe drinking water.

The improvements in Elizabethtown have been in the works for quite some time. After experiencing overflows, the town had been instructed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to begin evaluating their system.

With a population of 538, Elizabethtown is one of only three small Indiana communities receiving funds through this program at this time. Only communities with populations of 10,000 or less qualify for this funding.

The loan reflects $272 million being invested to modernize drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities across 37 states and Puerto Rico, USDA officials said.

The USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. Besides financing efforts to provide safe drinking water and sanitary sewage disposal, the program also works to ensure sanitary solid waste disposal and storm water drainage.

Rural Development also provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for Americans residing in rural communities.

In June, 2019, Elizabethtown became one of eight Indiana towns to receive funds through planning grants offered through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

The $35,000 utility grant awarded to the Sandcreek Township town was earmarked to assess its wastewater system. At the time, the Elizabethtown wastewater treatment plant had been provided assistance in maintaining quality control by Columbus City Utilities.