Federal grant allows water treatment upgrade to move forward

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The city of La Harpe, Illinois received a grant that will pave the way for a new water treatment system.

Residents and businesses said this is much needed because last summer, everyone was without clean and healthy water.

On Main Street in the city, there was a lot of excitement.

“To see a brand new $7 million facility come in to the town is going to be great for the community and customers with the water quality,”Alderman Randy Shumaker said.

Congressman Darin LaHood announced Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the city a grant of $2,502,000 and a loan of $4,008,000 to build a new system that will provide higher-quality drinking water.

“State of the art, reverse osmosis system, which will be a new treatment system compared to the past,” Shumaker said. “It’s the new wave of where we need to be.”

Last year, the Country Cafe was closed for a week because they couldn’t serve the water to drink or use it to clean and it affected businesses.

Now, the new facility will get rid of all the problems.

“We want to make sure that elderly people and young children that are affected the most don’t have to deal with these impure water issues anymore,” Quivey said.

Owner Rebecca Quivey said you don’t realize how important water is until you don’t have it for a significant amount of time.

“You couldn’t have soda, you couldn’t make coffee, you couldn’t do tea, water, make ice, in addition to the health department saying we couldn’t clean our plates because our sanitizer wasn’t sufficient enough to work with how they wanted things to go,” Quivey said.

Shumaker said the city will start accepting bids next year and hope to finish the project by the middle of 2020.

The city currently uses two facilities to treat the water.

The surface water treatment is on the edge of town and they’ve run into a lot of issues with the EPA on water quality.

This new project will eliminate that process and run the plant on Main Street next to the current location.

“The old plant will be tore down eventually, the water tower will remain, and the new state of the art facility will take place,” Shumaker said.

The city has to repay the $4,008,000 from the federal government and in order to get it done in a timely matter, water bills will increase annually up to $13 dollars over a three year period.

Drawings mapped out below:

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Don Dwyer is a Weekend Anchor/Reporter at WGEM.

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