MARIETTA - Jim Bradley, 76, is looking forward to the day next summer when a waterline is connected on his property just outside Lowell.
Bradley has a 425-gallon fiberglass tank in the back of his truck that he uses for transporting water.
With a water line, "I can do away with all my water pumps, I won't have to haul water anymore and it will be good water," he said.
About 120 homes and businesses in seven Washington County townships have recently received or are scheduled to soon receive water lines, thanks to funding efforts by Highland Ridge Water and Tri-County Rural Water and Sewer District.
The new waterlines are based on public demand from residents in Lawrence, Salem, Liberty and Adams townships serviced by Highland Ridge Water, and from those in Palmer, Barlow and Watertown townships served by Tri-County Rural Water and Sewer District.
"We probably have some people (in those areas) who have been waiting for water since 1989," said Candice Armstrong, Tri-County Rural Water and Sewer District's general manager.
Donna Graham, 63, of Lowell said she has been ready to get a waterline at her home for 21 years.
For 15 years now, she has gotten her drinking water from store-bought gallon plastic jugs.
Rain is also problematic at the Graham household.
"If it rains hard and I have guests, I have to tell them 'If the water is just a little bit brown, don't freak out,'" she said.
Funding is the challenge both districts face in bringing new water lines to residents and business owners.
"Every year we look for funding, sometimes we don't get it. If you don't have any help especially in rural areas, you have to wait for funding," said Armstrong.
Those in the four townships that are part of Highland Ridge Water's Ohio 530 Extension No. 2 project have been requesting service for more than two years, said Lloyd Booth, president of Highland Ridge Water.
"The acceptance and response we've gotten in this area has been extremely tremendous," he added.
This is the fifth water line extension project that Highland Ridge Water has worked on since the first water was served in July 1997, said Booth.
"We've laid approximately 250 miles or more of water lines," he added.
There are 35 homes and businesses scheduled to be added to Highland Ridge Water under the Extension #2 project, Booth reported.
Highland Ridge Water's project, expected to cost approximately $750,000, will likely be funded by two sources.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is expected to provide a 40 percent grant/60 percent loan at zero percent with a 30-year term and a community development block grant with a 50 percent grant/50 percent loan at zero percent with a 30-year term will likely be offered by the Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development District, Booth said.
"We've done this several times now, so (the funding process) gets easier every time," he added.
Booth said he expects the water line extension project to be put out to bid in March or April 2013, with construction to begin in the summer.
"We're hopeful to have it done by August," he said.
The Palmer waterline extension project already under way by the Tri-County Rural Water and Sewer District has an estimated price tag of $1,377,300, Armstrong reported.
The project will add 85 homes and businesses to the district, she added.
According to Armstrong, funding includes a $413,190 grant from OEPA; a 2 percent, 30-year loan for $714,110 from OEPA; and a $250,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
With a total of 21 miles to be covered in Palmer, Barlow and Watertown townships, Little Creek Construction of Grenup, Ky. began the Palmer waterline extension project in September.
"Depending on the weather, it should be done by Jan. 13," Armstrong said.
Neither Tri-County Rural Water and Sewer District nor Highland Ridge Water will raise rates as a result of their water line extension projects, officials said.
"We haven't raised rates for a long, long time," Armstrong said. "The rates might raise but not because of this."