Dig Deep in McDowell County getting federal funding

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May 26—Federal money is coming to McDowell County for a program aimed at providing clean water to residents lacking access to public water systems.

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced Thursday that the DigDeep Right to Water Project is set to receive $495,840 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to upgrade its clean water infrastructure in McDowell County. This funding was made available through a Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS) request made and secured by Capito in Fiscal Year 2022.

EPA Administrator Michael Regan visited McDowell County in December 2022 to learn more about local water needs. One project he saw was the water distilling system at the Five Loaves & Two Fishes Food Bank in Kimball. The system is part of the Appalachian Water Project which works with the nonprofit DigDeep organization.

Linda McKinney, the food bank's director, told Regan then that drinking water was the most requested item.

Capito said that she has secured a total of $241,135,000 in direct spending measures for initiatives and projects across West Virginia through the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 appropriations omnibus package.

In April 2022, Capito visited Kimball where she discussed the $495,840 she secured in direct spending to provide sanitary septic and sewerage service to 35 households, including 80 people, through the DigDeep Appalachia Water Project in McDowell County.

"When I visited DigDeep last year, it was clear that their project is of the upmost importance and that they are making a major impact in McDowell County. Now, after too long of a delay from the EPA, I am happy to announce this funding is on the way to DigDeep," Capito stated. "This project opens the door to clean water access for residents across the county who have been waiting on these resources for years. As Ranking Member of the EPW Committee and a leader on the Appropriations Committee, I will continue working to ensure our communities have the resources and reliable infrastructure needed to deliver clean water to our residents."

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a statement Thursday about Regan's visit to McDowell County in 2022 and the efforts to improve local drinking water and wastewater systems in the region.

"For over a century, the people of McDowell County have made the hard sacrifices to power our nation to greatness. I appreciate Administrator Regan for visiting this community to see first-hand the challenges we face," Manchin said."Today, I am proud to announce some long-overdue investments in essential water infrastructure and other resources that will help the people of McDowell County access more resources in the future. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I will continue fighting to ensure the people of West Virginia get the long past due federal support that they need and deserve."

— Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com

Contact Greg Jordan at gjordan@bdtonline.com