ST. ROBERT, Mo.—Today the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) announced that the City of St. Robert, Mo. was awarded a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) to interconnect drinking water systems between the U.S. Army installation at Fort Leonard Wood and the City of St. Robert.
During the weekend of April 29, 2017, a strong storm system brought multiple rounds of thunderstorms and heavy rains to the southern two-thirds of Missouri, resulting in flash flooding and a federal disaster declaration for the state, including Pulaski County where Fort Leonard Wood and St. Robert are located.
The flooding, for the first time ever, rendered the installation’s water intake pump station on the Big Piney River out of service, leaving the supply capacity of only one deep well. The installation’s Department of Public Works ordered water use conservation until all pumps could be repaired. By the time the pumps were back in service, engineers estimate the installation was down to approximately 36 hours of available water. During this emergency situation the City of St. Robert, which borders Fort Leonard Wood, was unable to provide water directly to the installation from their water sources because no interconnectivity between the two communities existed. This emergency brought out the cooperative community spirit that exists and the strong mutual support for a better community.
The City of St. Robert will use the CDBG funds along with their matching funds to interconnect their city water system to Fort Leonard Wood thereby providing reciprocating back-up water supplies in future emergencies. The interconnection will greatly enhance the readiness of Fort Leonard Wood and strengthen St. Robert. The grant and necessary local agreements are the product of work by the Fort Leonard Wood and Communities Partnership (FLWCP), which identifies public-to-public partnerships that strengthen longstanding relationships between the state, region, local governments and Fort Leonard Wood, enhances the installation’s training and operational capabilities, reduces operational costs and creates mutually beneficial efficiencies.
"The interconnection of water systems between St. Robert and Fort Leonard Wood demonstrates the great cooperation that exists between the communities and the post,” said Dr. George A. Lauritson, Mayor of St. Robert. “The interconnection will strengthen both communities during an emergency situation and provide resiliency to both water systems. The support of Sustainable Ozarks Partnership, Missouri's Department of Economic Development, and Meramec Regional Planning Commission were instrumental in bringing this project to reality.”
Meramec Regional Planning Commission assisted the city of St. Robert with the grant application and will serve as grant administrator.