The Ottumwa Courier

February 20, 2014

Bloomfield to upgrade water facilities

By JOSH VARDAMAN
Courier staff writer

---- — BLOOMFIELD — Residents in Bloomfield will soon benefit from a new water source, and the switch shouldn’t be as costly as it could be.

Last week it was announced that the city of Bloomfield was awarded a total of $3,365,000 thanks to a loan and grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, which will cover more than half of the total cost of the $5.3 million project.

The project consists of building a new water tower to coincide with the current one and either joining the Rathbun Regional Water Association or creating a new lake to provide water to its residents, according to Ted Henderson, Director of Public Works in Bloomfield.

Currently, the city gets its water supply from Lake Fisher, a small lake to the west of the city. However, the lake’s size has created some problems.

“One of the big questions is the DNR doesn’t think the lake is big enough to sustain the city,” Henderson said.

Since the DNR deemed the lake too small to meet the needs of the city, Henderson said they had been looking at the option of either joining the Rathbun Regional Water Association or building a new lake. That decision was left to the Bloomfield City Council, which met Thursday night to discuss what the best option is moving forward.

In addition to switching to a bigger water source, the city will also be constructing a new water tower to coincide with the one already in use. The current tower holds up to 300,000 gallons of water, and the new one will have the same capacity. Henderson said the city will transition into utilizing both of the towers once the new one is constructed.

The total cost of the project is approximately $5.3 million, Henderson said, so the loan and grant from the USDA are a very welcome sight. The $3,365,000 that the City of Bloomfield received is broken down into a $1,508,000 grant and a loan of $1,857,000.

Congressman Dave Loebsack, serving Iowa’s Second Congressional District, issued a press release congratulating Bloomfield on receiving the loan and grant.

“Today’s announcement is great news for the people of Bloomfield,” Loebsack said in the news release. “I am pleased that these funds will be used to update the aging water system and provide clean water to the folks in the area. Access to safe drinking water is critical to families and the entire City of Bloomfield.”

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh