The Texas Water Development Board on Thursday announced financial assistance for the City of Athens in the amount of $1,125,000 that will fund a major water infrastructure project.

"Of that, $300,000 is for lack of a better term, principal forgiveness," Athens City Manager Elizabeth Borstad said. "That is money that they are helping with to do that project."

An $825,000 loan and the $300,000 in principal forgiveness will come from from the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. In addition to the loan forgiveness, the City could save approximately $43,650 over the life of the loan by using the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund.

"We all know that the City of Athens infrastructure is at a point that we need to start replacing what's in the ground as far as our water and sewer lines," Borstad said. "This is one of the first steps for us to do that."

With the assistance approved Thursday, Athens will replace approximately 5,000 linear feet of water line. The lines are on Park Street, Prairieville and Clinton.

"It would be replacing all of the water lines in that area, installing new fire hydrants and I think will improve the water flow in that area, significantly," Borstad said.

The TWDB is the state agency charged with collecting and disseminating water-related data, assisting with regional planning, and preparing the state water plan for the development of the state’s water resources. The TWDB administers cost-effective financial assistance programs for the construction of water supply, wastewater treatment, flood control, and agricultural water conservation projects.

Borstad said the process from filing the application to the announcement of the award has taken about a year-and-a-half. Borstad said she has another application ready to be sent that would allow even more improvements.

"Hopefully, we'll be as successful with this second application as we were with the first one," she said.

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