Where: Bliss, Idaho
RCAC, the Western RCAP, assisted the town of Bliss in obtaining funding to build a $7 million sewer system. Before, Bliss had no centralized sewer system. This community of 275 people has historically supported itself through ranching and farming. The town has a mix of individual septic systems and a lagoon system for wastewater disposal. A study in 1988 indicated a new sewer system would cost $500,000.
Recently, a business considered relocating to Bliss, which would have brought jobs. However, without a central sewer system to hook up to, it was hesitant to make a commitment. The community also needed to address compliance issues on its existing lagoon. A new wastewater study done in 2009 showed the price of a new sewer system had risen steeply to almost $7 million.
RCAC partnered with Region IV Development Association of Twin Falls (Idaho) to access funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, USDA and state and other federal partners. RCAC put together a package of loans and grants for Bliss’s sewer system and assisted with public participation to pass a bond measure and provided training for the town’s board on budget development.
Bliss will now provide sewer connections for all of its residents, eliminating all failing septic tanks. It will drain fields and the leaking lagoon, which is currently dumping sewage into the porous lava rock beneath residents’ homes, businesses and school. The new wastewater facility will entice employers to take a second look at Bliss and hopefully bring economic development and much-needed jobs to the area.