The Anniston Water Works and Sewer Board could soon have $6.96 million in state money to upgrade its services in Cleburne County.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management announced Friday that the financial assistance was made available to the board using money from the state’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loan program. Ed Turner, general manager for Anniston Water Works, said if the loan gets final approval, the money will be used to build a water tank to better serve growing demand, mainly in Cleburne County.

“We still haven’t closed the loan yet,” Turner said. “The loan is available but it will not be closed until the first of the year.”

Turner said the tentative plan is to use the money to build a 2-million-gallon water storage tank and a water transmission main to help Anniston Water Works’ Southeast service area, which mostly consists of Cleburne County.

“A lot of our demand has gone that way,” Turner said.

The tank will help eliminate low-pressure areas and provide sufficient water storage capacity.

According to its website, the board has 65,000 customers. Besides Cleburne and Anniston, the board serves parts of Oxford, Blue Mountain, Fort McClellan, the Anniston Army Depot, Randolph County, Clay County, Jacksonville, Heflin and Haralson County, Ga. The board also has customers in Weaver and Hobson City.

Turner noted that there were no plans to raise water rates to help the board repay the loan. He added that there wasn’t yet a timetable for when the project would be started.

“We’re in the process of laying out the timetable,” Turner said.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.