$15.8M water treatment plant completed in Delaware County

12/23/2019 08:30 AM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Lee Denney, Oklahoma’s director for USDA Rural Development, foreground, and others tour the new $15.8 million water treatment plant on Dec. 18 in southern Delaware County. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
The new $15.8 million water treatment plant in Flint Ridge is seen Dec. 18. Approximately 2,500 homes in southern Delaware County to the north end of Adair County will benefit from fresh, cleaner and safer drinking water, tribal and state officials said. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Visitors get a look inside the new water treatment plant on Dec. 18 in Flint Ridge. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Surrounded by local, state and federal officials, Deputy Chief Bryan Warner on Dec. 18 cuts the ribbon for a new water treatment plant in Delaware County. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
FLINT RIDGE – Tribal, state and federal leaders gathered Dec. 18 in Flint Ridge to dedicate a $15.8 million water treatment plant and celebrate a successful partnership.

“This is going to make a difference in the lives of particularly young people,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. said. “They will reap the benefits of living in a community with clean and reliable water. Their communities will be stronger because of it.”

The plant, located below the Clear Lake Dam in Delaware County, is expected to serve approximately 2,500 homes in Flint Ridge, Kansas, Leach, Colcord, Oaks, Twin Oaks, Rose and West Siloam Springs.

Funding partners included the Cherokee Nation with a $476,000 planning grant, the federal Indian Health Service, revolving state funds and the South Delaware County Regional Water Authority. Rural development loans and grants were also used.

“We know we’re all in this together,” Hoskin said. “We know it’s not every man, every community, every government for themselves. We look for partners everywhere we can. I’m proud of our partnerships. I’m proud of the resources that we put on the table.”

Construction began in May 2017 on the plant, which can handle 2 million gallons of water per day. The project also includes water storage tanks, pump stations and several miles of waterline.

“To say the least, we are all very excited about this day finally arriving and look forward to providing the south end of Delaware County and the north end of Adair County with fresh, clean, safe drinking water for many years to come,” a South Delaware County Regional Water Authority project report for December states.

Lee Denney, the USDA’s Oklahoma Rural Development director, called the treatment plant a “shining star.”

“This is the first project Rural Development has done in a long time in collaboration with people such as Cherokee Nation and (Oklahoma Water Resources Board) and all the partners involved,” she said. “This kind of project is just a hallmark of what we like to sponsor.”

Oklahoma Secretary of Energy & Environment Kenneth Wagner, who grew up in Tahlequah, also attended the event, which included a ceremonial ribbon-cutting at the plant and a tour.

“To be here to dedicate such an important facility and infrastructure that really supports the lifeblood of this community is both gratifying for me personally, but it makes me proud to be an Oklahoman,” he said. “This is really a model of what should happen around the country.”

David Gray, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 6 deputy administrator, said he looked forward to touting the plant in his five-state region.

“One of the agency’s No. 1 priorities is drinking water infrastructure,” he said. “We are looking at this across the country. So to be able to have real models, real successes to demonstrate to communities around the country brings hope to them.”

Cost Breakdown

• $8.68 million, treatment plant construction

• $3.23 million, refinancing of existing water district debt

• $2.24 million, engineering and planning services

• $1.08 million, water mains and pump stations

• $582,370, water storage tanks
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