DES MOINES, IOWA (USDA)—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Sept. 13 funding for rural water projects to create jobs and improve rural water and wastewater systems in 16 states.
"These improvements to rural water infrastructure will provide reliable access to clean water, improving public health while creating jobs that strengthen rural economies." Vilsack said. "The Obama administration is working to support creation of a vibrant, sustainable rural America, and clean water is a basic necessity for the health and economic growth of our rural communities."
For example, in Iowa, the city of Rhodes has been selected to receive loan and grant funds to rehabilitate the sewage-collection system and lagoon for the city. In rural Virginia, the town of Kenbridge was selected to receive a loan and grant to upgrade old sewer lines and pump stations. The current wastewater system allows untreated sewage run-off resulting in hazards to human health. The sewer system serves approximately 440 residential and 90 commercial users.
Since 2009, USDA has provided more than $8.1 billion in investment to bring modern, updated water and waste water capacity to thousands of rural communities – helping to safeguard the health and wellbeing of millions.
The $54 million in loans and $19 million in grants are being provided by USDA Rural Development's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to help rural communities build and upgrade rural water systems. RUS funding provides thousands of new connections to water and wastewater facilities to improve water quality, increase the efficiency of water use, and reduce usage. For instance, in Pennsylvania, a new sewage treatment plant was constructed with USDA support by the Center-West Joint Authority to stop the discharge of raw sewage into the Monongahela River. Upgrades to a nearby system in Brownville eliminated pollution to the Dunlap Creek Watershed, allowed new users to be added to the system and further increased economic development by enabling a new, large retail store to be constructed in the area.
See the complete list of projects funded. Funding is contingent on recipients meeting the terms of the loan and grant agreements. More information on the Water and Environment Program
Communities in the following states were selected for funding: Ark., Calif., Iowa, Idaho, Ill., Kan., Ky., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.D., N.J., N.Y., S.C., Va., and W.Va.
For additional information on RD projects, visit Rural Development's new interactive web map featuring program funding and success stories for fiscal years 2009-2011.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the president's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy, small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $172 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.