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Safe Water No Longer a Pipe Dream

By Joan Messina, Public Information Coordinator

USDA Rural Development celebrated a magnificent Earth Day in the bright spring sunshine at Vandalia Lake in Fayette County, Illinois, last Thursday.  The clouds rolled away just hours before we joined Fayette Water Company (FWC) to mark the advent of abundant safe water for area residents. With Vandalia Lake as the backdrop, State Director Colleen Callahan announced that Rural Development was providing $1,275,500 in affordable funding to make FWC’s project possible.

After years of waiting, hundreds of area people now are sure of getting clean water.  What an irony that the people living around this picturesque 660 acre lake have only contaminated and inadequate well water at their disposal.

The area’s access to clean water is possible only because of the hard work of the volunteer board of FWC and its partnerships with Rural Development and local entities, including area townships, the county highway department, and the City of Vandalia.  We celebrated by signing a certificate of partnership to continue the work of bringing clean water to hundreds of homes around the Vandalia Lake area and joined pieces of water pipe as a symbol of the next step.

This was a perfect way to commemorate Earth Day, an event established 40 years ago by citizens committed to making their local communities cleaner and healthier.  It was 22 years ago that concerned citizens in Fayette County began looking for ways to bring a healthy supply of water to rural Fayette County.  Now FWC can rightfully boast that, with the completion of this phase, it will supply safe water to 1400 homes and farms.  And Rural Development will be very proud to have been a partner in their efforts.

Fayette Water Company board members join Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan after signing a certificate of partnership.
Fayette Water Company board members join Illinois State Director Colleen Callahan after signing a certificate of partnership.

Rural Development, Fayette Water Company and local partners sign two sections of water pipe to symbolize the next step in providing safe water to the Vandalia Lake area.
Rural Development, Fayette Water Company and local partners sign two sections of water pipe to symbolize the next step in providing safe water to the Vandalia Lake area.

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