Uniontown awarded $400,000 grant for sewer system

Published 12:15 am Tuesday, July 21, 2009

About 129 residents in this city will receive better sewer service because of a $400,000 Community Development Block grant awarded Monday by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Gov. Riley.

“We are happy to receive the funds to help connect these residents with the city’s sewer system,” said Uniontown Mayor Jamaal Hunter. “After all, these folks are paying taxes, they should be receiving services.

“It also goes a long way in improving quality of life issues in that area of town.”

Email newsletter signup

Forty-nine private septic systems in the neighborhood near Perry County Road 1 and Airport Road are inadequate and allow raw sewage to leak into the surrounding soil and ultimately back up into residents’ homes, presenting a health and environmental risk to residents, according to the grant summary, Hunter said.

The homes represent the last section of town not connected to the sewer system. Residents will have their old septic systems filled in and will be connected to Uniontown’s sewer system as the city’s matching part of the grant.

Neighbors have complained for years about the odor and condition of septic systems in the area. A majority of the households in the area lack the funds to repair the old systems themselves. According to the grant, 97 percent of the residents in the area affected by the grant are considered low-to-middle income. The city will provide $40,000 in funds for the residential hookups with the grant providing the rest of the necessary funds to complete the project.

The city of Uniontown wrote the grant with assistance from the Black Belt Action Commission, the regional development agency tasked with improving living and working conditions in the 12-county Black Belt region.

Bob Corwin of SITE Inc., grant writer for the city, explained that grants for small communities like Uniontown are very competitive.

“There is only enough funding to grant a handful of projects,” he said. “This was the second year that Uniontown applied for this grant.”

Corwin also said that in similar grant projects, higher priority is given to water and sewer projects because of the health and environmental concerns associated with them.

Work on the project is slated to begin in the next 60 days. The project is expected to take nine months to complete.