The North Vermillion Community School Corp. was recently recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for excellence in environmental and public health protection regarding its water main extension project.
Dan Nelson, who serves as the school corporation’s superintendent, said the elementary school had to use bottled water for five years because of high nitrate levels in the school’s well.
“The school corporation had to fix the problem, but the school couldn’t fund the project, so we built a pipeline from the school to the town of Cayuga,” he said.
The pipeline, which is just over a mile long, is being funded by the town. The school will reimburse the money through bond payments over the next 20 years.
“It’s been a joint effort between the town and the school,” Nelson said. “They had to agree to hook us up to the water. It’s a major pipeline and booster pumps to give the high school and elementary clean water.”
The EPA recognition was an unexpected honor for the school corporation.
“It’s great,” Nelson said. “We didn’t expect it. This was a thing of necessity. We were out of alternatives. Any time you receive a special recognition with a community partner, it’s good. We’re a rural district. We are kind of the hub of the community and having community partners is very important for us.”
The EPA recently honored 58 water infrastructure projects for excellence and innovation within the clean water State Revolving Fund and drinking water SRF programs. These projects demonstrate leadership in innovative financing, partnership and problem solving while improving water quality and public health protection, noted an EPA press release.
“Over the past four years, the EPA has helped finance more than $40 billion in water infrastructure and has accelerated investments by working with our state partners to increase the utilization and leveraging of the State Revolving Fund programs,” explained David Ross, who serves as assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “The 2020 State Revolving Fund projects honored illustrate determination, coordination and imagination in achieving water quality goals.”