Agriculture Under Secretary Thomas C. Dorr celebrated the 37th anniversary of Earth Day by announcing USDA Rural Development funding of 61 new rural water and wastewater community systems in 29 states totaling nearly $180 million.
"These projects will build and improve rural water and sewage systems, and rural communities will benefit through cleaner water, recreation and wildlife resources," Dorr said. "USDA is working with communities across America to provide investment financing and an improved quality of life for local residents."
Earth Day is observed annually on April 22 to inspire awareness of and appreciation for the environment. The USDA funding announced today will help communities upgrade sewage systems to better manage storm runoff, expand and/or upgrade water treatment plants, extend water service to new residents and build a renewable energy generation facility.
For example, in Thurston, Neb USDA Rural Development will provide a $322,000 loan and $253,000 grant to help the village construct a controlled discharge lagoon system. Work will include construction of a lift station and reworking existing lagoon cells to provide a higher maximum water level and achieve required capacity. When this project is complete, Thurston will be back in compliance with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit and will have a wastewater facility that will be able to handle the capacity demanded by the community. The Village of Thurston has a population of 125 and a median household income of $26,875.
A complete list of the selected loan and grant recipients and projects can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rd/newsroom/news.htm  . Additional information about these programs and other key USDA accomplishments is featured on an Earth Day Backgrounder at www.usda.gov  .