U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) today announced that the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) has awarded a $200,000 grant to the Town of Westernport for the Westernport Water Distribution System Improvement project. The grant is expected to improve the quality and reliability of water service to 195 homes and 15 businesses, including the downtown area. Westernport's current water infrastructure is more than 100 years old and has experienced serious leaks and water loss in recent years.
"This grant is a step in the right direction and what we need to be doing as a nation-- investing in our country's aging infrastructure. The sooner we stop ignoring the issue and start investing in America, the sooner we can see a decline in the number of burst pipes and leaking water mains. This project will provide well-paying jobs and improve the quality of life for the residents and business owners of Westernport," said Senator Cardin.
"Maryland cities and towns need to upgrade their water and sewer infrastructure but they can't do it on their own," Senator Mikulski said. "This is a federal investment in reliable, clean water access for the people of Westernport. Because of the Appalachian Regional Commission, we are able to continue to provide the people of Western Maryland the necessary funds to enhance and upgrade their utilities."
Westernport draws its water from the Savage River Reservoir, one of the state's most pristine water sources. The town currently averages about two water leaks a week that need repair, losing approximately 400,000 gallons of water a day. This ARC grant will upgrade Westernport's water infrastructure, replacing approximately 10,030 linear feet of water lines. The upgrade will significantly reduce service interruptions, the possibility of contamination, and improve reliability for both commercial and residential customers.
The $200,000 grant will be supplemented with $1.5 million in local funds for a total cost of $1.7 million for the project.