USDA Investments to Improve Drinking Water and Waste Infrastructure
TEMPLE, Texas, September 12, 2016 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making investments to improve water and waste infrastructure for 168 small towns across the country. The investment, totaling $283 million, is made through USDA Rural Development’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, which provides assistance and financing to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems for communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
“Strong infrastructure is critical to keeping America’s communities of all sizes thriving, and USDA is proud to partner with the National Rural Water Association to help improve the livelihood of our smallest towns by providing access to reliable water and wastewater systems,” said Vilsack. “Projects like these are critical to the economy, health and future of rural America, and today 19 million residents now have improved water and wastewater services in their communities thanks to investments USDA has made since 2009.”
USDA Rural Utilities Service Administrator Brandon McBride made the announcement on Vilsack’s behalf at the National Rural Water Association’s WaterPro Conference in Orlando, FL.
“Rural Development is pleased to offer to fund to these five communities,” said Paco Valentin, USDA Rural Development State Director. “Water is one of the most pressing public health concerns and is essential for long-term sustainability. By utilizing these funds, these communities will have improved water infrastructure to support economic and population growth.”
Bandera River Ranch Water Supply Corporation, for example, received an additional $100,000 loan to supplement a $450,000 loan awarded in 2015 to construct a new water well, and a 40,000-gallon ground storage tank and building.
Bruni Rural Water Supply Corporation (WSC) received a $242,000 loan and $1,375,300 grant for the construction of a microfiltration system at their two operating wells to comply with TCEQ regulations. The WSC is currently in violation for exceeding the drinking water standard level for arsenic.
The City of Florence also received an additional grant of $45,000. This additional grant will augment a previously awarded grant of $196,000 to make improvements to the City’s existing water system which will eliminate methane gas in the drinking water supply.
Matagorda Waste Disposal and Water Supply Corporation was awarded a loan of $5,845,000 and a grant of $1,920,000 to rehabilitate approximately 62,700 linear feet of clay pipe and brick manholes. The improvements will include all necessary wastewater system components, service line connections, and the rehabilitation of 12 lift stations.
The City of Poteet was awarded a $4,017,000 loan to replace approximately 19,250 linear feet of distribution line on West Fifth Street, and approximately 19,600 linear feet of distribution line along East Fifth Street. The distribution line replacement is needed to improve the water clarity by reducing a significant amount of iron currently in the water coming from the old lines.
Today’s funding builds on USDA’s historic investments in rural America over the past seven years. Since 2009, USDA has worked to strengthen and support rural communities and American agriculture, an industry that supports one in 11 American jobs. It provides American consumers with more than 80 percent of the food we consume, ensures that Americans spend less of their paychecks at the grocery store than most people in other countries, and supports markets for homegrown renewable energy and materials.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development (@USDARD ) has invested $13.5 billion in 5,739 water and waste infrastructure projects. That benefits 19.1 million rural residents; spent nearly $13 billion to start or expand nearly 112,000 rural businesses; helped 1.1 million rural residents buy homes; funded nearly 9,200 community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care facilities; and helped bring high-speed Internet access to almost 6 million rural residents and businesses. USDA also has invested $31.3 billion in 963 electric projects that have financed more than 185,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving 4.6 million rural residents. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/results.