KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – The City of Kingsport will receive several million dollars in the form of a loan to improve its water infrastructure.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and Gov. Bill Lee announced Tuesday that Kingsport would receive $7 million. The loan is one of two approved by the Tennessee Local Development Authority.
Kingsport’s loan comes from the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Program, according to the release. The loan has a 20-year term at 2.13% interest.
“This loan program makes water infrastructure more affordable for our communities, and we are grateful to local officials for their efforts in gaining this assistance,” Lee said in the release. “We look forward to the improvements these loans will bring.”
TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said the “quality of water infrastructure is vital for Tennesseans” and the low-interest nature of the loans provides an opportunity for communities that receive them.
Since 1987, TDEC reports more than $2 billion in low-interest loans has been awarded through the revolving loan program.
The release states the other loan from the development authority was granted to Smyrna. The combined loans totaled $8.3 million. The city of Kingsport’s Utility Director, Niki Ensor went more into depth about the project and what it’s going to do for the community.
“The project is an infrastructure renewal project. It’s replacing outdated equipment. We’re replacing the electrical equipment that feeds our finished water pumps at the water treatment plant. That equipment’s over 40 years old and it’s reached the end of its useful life. We need to replace that so it’s reliable.”
In addition, a fourth pump will give them the ability to meet demand even if one of the other pumps goes down, and water customers won’t see any changes in their bills due to the loan. “It’s a part of our capital improvements program, so it’s already budgeted into our current rate structure.”
The two-year program is expected to begin late spring or early summer of this year.
This is a developing story. News Channel 11 is working to speak with Kingsport leadership about plans for the loan.