USDA Announces Projects to Improve Water Quality

December 4, 2013 | General RCAP News

Earlier today, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $203 million in funding to finance investments in improved water and wastewater systems for 74 projects in 40 states.

"Rural businesses and residents need access to clean water and modern waste disposal systems. This isn't just an economic issue, it's an issue of basic health and safety," said Vilsack. "Water and wastewater projects like these help safeguard rural access to a modern, working infrastructure, which in turn ensures a decent quality of life and helps attract – and keep – the best and brightest in small towns across America."

RCAP communities that have been selected for funding include:

  • Hogansville, Georgia
  • Kawaihau Sports Villa Association of Apartment Owners in Kapaa, Hawaii
  • Castleford, Idaho
  • Three in Illinois: Stelle, Devil's Kitchen Water District in Carbondale, and the Sharpsburg & Neighboring Area Water System in central Illinois
  • Oberlin, Kansas
  • Two in Kentucky: the Town of Jenkins and the Cumberland Falls Highway Water District in the southeasstern part of the state
  • Provincetown, Massachusetts
  • Greensboro, Maryland
  • Two in Michigan: Ellsworth and Whiteford Township
  • Three in Missouri: Norborne, McDonald County, and St. Francois County
  • Two in Montana: the Town of Boulder and Craig County
  • Edgecombe County, North Carolina
  • Dunning, Nebraska
  • Two in New Mexico: the town of Timberon and the Desert Aire Mutual Domestic Water & Sewer Works Association in southern New Mexico
  • Two in New York: Alexandria and Cortlandville
  • Two in Oregon: Powers and the Dane Clark Water District in Douglas
  • Eagle Butte, South Dakota (see below)
  • Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee
  • Lone Star, Texas
  • Wise County, Virginia
  • Two in Washington: Soap Lake and Wapato
  • Lusk, Wyoming

The system in Eagle Butte, S.D., for example, was selected to receive a $2 million loan/grant combination to upgrade a wastewater treatment system that serves more than 3,000 residents in one of the poorest parts of the state.

The funding is being provided through USDA Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program. It will have a significant impact on rural residents and businesses. A prime example of this kind of impact is the community of Berlin, Md. At the start of the Obama Administration, USDA Rural Development awarded the town $11.8 million in Recovery Act loans and grants to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant to meet environmental standards. The project had benefits beyond improved wastewater services for local residents and businesses. Sixty-five construction workers, who had lost their jobs just before the town received the Rural Development funds, were hired to work on the project.

The Berlin project is one of nearly 3,900 water and wastewater projects supported with funding authorized by the Farm Bill that Rural Development has financed since 2009. These projects have created jobs and provided clean water for nearly 14 million rural residents.

Click here for the list of projects that will receive USDA funding, contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the funding agreement. For more on the services that RCAP provides, visit our Programs and Services page.