USDA to Fund Rural Water Projects

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Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced support for projects to improve rural water and wastewater services, promote renewable energy and promote the efficient use of energy resources.

"I am proud to announce that USDA is providing more than $112 million in loans and grants to help rural communities build and upgrade their water and energy infrastructure systems," Vilsack said in a press release. "Not only do projects such as these help ensure communities have access to clean water and affordable energy, they also create jobs and boost the economy."

USDA is providing the funding for water and wastewater infrastructure projects through Rural Development's Water and Environmental Program (WEP).

The City of Crete, Nebraska, for example, has been selected for a $717,000 WEP loan to help fund replacement of its wastewater treatment facility. It was built in 1974 and is unable meet Clean Water Act ammonia limits. The project is expected to be completed in 2016 and benefit all of the town's 6,028 residents.

Undersecretary Lisa Mensah visited an Earth Day project in Henderson, Maryland, on the state's eastern shore. The town is receiving a $175,000 grant to make emergency repairs to its water system. A combination of unusually cold temperatures in February and high demand caused the aging system to fail, leaving the town's 146 residents temporarily without water. A temporary solution is keeping the wells in operation, but significant repairs to the water supply system are needed to ensure a continued water supply.

In Missouri, Rural Development awarded a $1.6 million loan to help the City of Holts Summit build a regional pump station at its wastewater treatment facility. This will extend the collection system to five areas within city limits that lack sewer service.

In all, USDA is funding 37 water and wastewater projects and 25 renewable energy projects totaling more than $114.6 million.

Funding for each project is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement. The list of recipients is available on the USDA website.


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