The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $1.2bn to rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure across 46 states.
USDA is offering finances for 234 water and environmental infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funding can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities where 10,000 or fewer residents live.
Rural Development Secretary Assistant Anne Hazlett Hazlett said: “Access to water is a key driver for economic opportunity and quality of life in rural communities.
“Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building prosperity through modern water infrastructure.”
The department is investing in rural communities across Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Maryland, Massachusetts, among others.
USDA has cited examples where communities will be receiving the loan. It has cited the example of the Municipal Authority of the Borough of Berlin in Pennsylvania, which will receive $2.5m loan to replace the primary water transmission line for the Berlin Municipal Water System, which was built back in 1979. The investment will help in replacing water meters as well, as the system also serves 1,10 users in Berlin and in Brothers Valley township in Somerset County.
The Todd County Water District in Kentucky will receive $3.2m loan and $390,000 grant to build 3.2km of water line and a 500,000-gallon water storage tank. These upgrades will offer up to one million gallons per day for a new industrial site just outside of Guthrie.
Novelis Industries is planning to build an automotive aluminum sheet manufacturing facility which will create nearly 125 jobs. The county’s water district serves 3,500 customers.
Thirdly, the Bond Water Association in Winston County, Mississippi will receive $1.4m loan to upgrade its water system. A 300-gallon-per-minute well will be build by the Bond Water Association along with the replacement of 28,200 feet of distribution lines.