USDA announced support for projects that will improve water and wastewater services
As part of U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Earth Day celebration, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced support for projects that will improve water and wastewater services for rural Americans and benefit the environment across the country. USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty. The announcement is one part of the department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.
"At USDA, we believe it is critical that communities across the country have reliable, clean and safe water," Vilsack said. "This Earth Day, I also encourage communities affected by natural disasters, including those hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, to apply for funding through the Emergency Community Water Assistance Grants Program."
As part of the announcement, USDA Rural Development is providing more than $145.2 million to improve water quality and provide a safe and healthy environment for rural Americans.
For example, the city of Grand Rivers in Livingston County, Ky., has been selected to receive a $3.6 million loan and a $2.4 million grant to construct a wastewater treatment plant and modify a pump station.
The town of Betterton, a small rural community on the eastern shore of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay, will receive a $1.38 million loan and a $1 million grant to complete the upgrade of a 45-year-old wastewater treatment facility that is functioning at 10% of its original capacity.
The city of Richland Center, Wis., has been selected to receive a $15.7 million loan and a $6.4 million grant to upgrade its 75-year-old treatment system.
In addition to announcing new investments, USDA is highlighting some Earth Day projects that are completed or are near completion. For example, the rural community of Fanning Springs, Fla., celebrated Earth Day by hosting a dedication ceremony at its newly completed wastewater treatment facility.
Rural Development worked with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the Suwannee River Water Management District and the local government to protect and restore water quality in the Suwannee Basin. Fanning Springs received a $2.9 million Rural Development loan and a $2.8 million grant in 2010 to construct a wastewater treatment facility. It will provide advanced treatment for nitrogen removal, lead to improved spring and groundwater conditions and restore water quality in the Suwannee Basin.
Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant, or loan/grant agreement.
A complete list of water and wastewater award recipients is located here.