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McKenzie gets water storage stipend

The town of McKenzie got great news last week when a $400,000 grant was awarded by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs for the construction of a new water tank for the town.

McKenzie mayor Betty Stintson said she was thrilled with the news.

&uot;We were told by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) that we would have to have another tank,&uot; Stintson said. &uot;When Opal came through we were out of water right away. Luckily, we were able to purchase a large generator, which solved our problem for the short term, but we need more storage.&uot;

The mayor said the grant also will be used to refurbish some old lines that were installed in the 1950s.

&uot;Those have been there for quite a while and need to be replaced,&uot; she said.

The new, larger lines will be installed on Knight and Walsh streets.

The new water tank will hold 75,000 gallons of water, and will improve water pressure, enhance fire protection to the town and help provide safe, dependable drinking water for McKenzie residents.

The tank will be constructed at the intersection of Hartley Street and Alabama Highway 55.

ADEM officials pointed to the incident three years ago in which the town’s current tank was completely emptied before a fire in the town was extinguished as an indicator of McKenzie’s need for the new tank.

The new tank will also allow town officials to take the current tank out of commission long enough to do several needed refurbishes and repairs.

ADEM officials said the new tank will not only supply a safer, more dependable water supply, but will also improve the town’s insurance rates, possibly reducing them by as much as 15 percent.

The grant is a Community Development Block Grant, which is issued through ADEM from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds.