Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett announced that USDA is investing more than $124 million to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 23 states. “Modern, reliable water infrastructure provides a foundation for economic growth and prosperity,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to ensuring that rural places have the infrastructure needed to thrive.”
USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
The town of Royal Center in Cass County received additional financing for a wastewater project that will upgrade the Royal Center Combined Sewer Overflow System. Improvements will ensure the system meets current health and environmental standards. Royal Center’s 861 residents will benefit from the funding. Other funding sources include a $38,000 applicant contribution, a $500,000 Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant, and a $2,112,000 USDA Water & Waste Disposal loan and grant combination awarded in FY 2017.
The funding that USDA announced will benefit communities in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.
In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.