USDA Funding Helps Rural Utility Rehabilitate Water Infrastructure

Pascoag Utility District awarded $2.4 million in loans and grants through the USDA Rural Development's Water and Environmental program

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The Pascoag (Rhode Island) Utility District was recently awarded $2.4 million in loans and grants from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development to rehabilitate its aging water system.

The district was awarded a $480,000 Water and Wastewater Program grant and received a Water and Wastewater Program loan of $1.92 million, according to a Pawtucket Times report.

“Commercial lenders were not a viable option for us,” says Michael Kirkwood, general manager and CEO of the Pascoag Utility District. “The low interest rate, 40-year repayment term and federal grant made it doable without having to greatly increase utility costs.”

Per the report, the funding will be used to clean and reline nearly 30,000 linear feet of cast iron water main providing service to 1,000 homes.

“We are a poor community and could never have hoped to get into a project like this without the help of USDA and it is greatly appreciated,” says Al Palmisciano, chairman of the Pascoag Utility District Board of Commissioners.

The Pascoag project is the first project in the southern New England to be submitted and approved through the new RD Apply web application. According to the report, “RD Apply is designed to save time in the application process, better serve the rural communities applying for loans and grants, and to reduce paper consumption."

The project was recognized April 22 as part of USDA’s National Earth Day celebration and recognition of projects that will improve rural water quality and safety in 33 states across the county. USDA is investing $183 million in 60 water and wastewater infrastructure projects through Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program.


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