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USDA Invests in Drinking Water Quality and Wastewater Management for 2,100 Rural Residents and Businesses in Five Minnesota Communities

Nikki Gillespie
Release Date

Projects will Improve Water Pressure, Address Public Health and Environmental Issues

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 20, 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced $13.2 million in investments to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in five rural communities.

   “These investments will help construct or replace critical infrastructure and ensure these communities have reliable drinking water and wastewater management,” Finstad said. “USDA is dedicated to the partnerships that help make these projects a reality, because when rural America thrives, all of America thrives.”

   The city of Easton in southcentral Minnesota will use a $2.9 million loan and a $2 million grant to upgrade the municipal water, wastewater and sewer system that can no longer provide reliable service due to aging infrastructure. The investment will be used to replace existing water distribution and wastewater/sewer collection pipes as well as install new hydrants. These improvements will help the city meet current health and safety standards.

   Isle, Minn. will use a $2.2 million loan and an $858,000 grant to make improvements to existing municipal water and wastewater infrastructure that is no longer reliable. The investment will be used to demolish two existing groundwater wells and rehabilitate the third for improved water distribution efficiency. Additionally, watermains will be replaced and extended and new meters, a backup generator and a central control system will be installed for efficiency.

   In the city of Dumont, a $200,000 loan and $1.1 million grant will be used to make improvements to the existing municipal water and sewer distribution system that is deteriorating. The investment will replace infrastructure that has started to cause health and safety concerns caused by asbestos. These improvements will help bring the city into compliance with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA).

   The city of Verndale in northcentral Minnesota will use a $261,000 loan and a $237,000 grant to construct new municipal water infrastructure. The investment will be used to build a new water tower to increase storage capacity and install meters for increased efficiency. Routine maintenance of the new tower will prevent a costly rehabilitation and provide decades of reliable water pressure.

   Wood Lake, Minn. will use a $1.5 million loan and $1.9 million grant to make improvements to the municipal water, sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure. The investment will replace aging water mains and ensure clean drinking water and efficient wastewater distribution.

   Finstad’s announcement is in coordination with USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald “DJ” LaVoy’s announcement that the department is investing $635 million in 122 projects to improve water systems and wastewater handling services in rural communities in 42 states: Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

   USDA is funding the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Eligible applicants include rural cities, towns and water districts. The funds can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities that meet population limits. 

   Below are examples of water and wastewater projects in in other states that will receive funding:

   View the interactive RD Apply tool or contact one of USDA Rural Development’s area offices for application or eligibility information.

   In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

   To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

   USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov/mn.