Earth Day is an opportunity to draw public attention to the growing needs for cleaner air and water. Celebrating Earth Day in Illinois, Administrator for Rural Utilities Service Brandon McBride is drawing attention to infrastructure investments made by Rural Development to ensure reliable access to clean, safe water. His visit included the Village of Kane, located in rural Greene County, which has been awarded $3.4 million through Rural Development’s Water & Waste Disposal (WWD) programs and Section 6025 Water & Waste Disposal set-aside funding.
“This project and other funding the USDA is announcing this Earth Week will help alleviate pressures on many small communities that are dealing with the combined effects of aging infrastructure, climate change, drought and, in some cases, declining tax revenues due to population loss,” said McBride.
Village of Kane residents currently treat their waste using individual onsite treatment and disposal systems such as septic tanks. The high water table within the Village, coupled with aging and often inadequate private treatment systems, have led to health and safety concerns for the residents.
Official planning efforts in Kane began nearly two years ago, utilizing a $28,600 Rural Development WWD planning grant to prepare an engineering analysis report for a wastewater system installation. The proposed project will establish a community-wide collection / treatment system for all wastewater needs, including over 160 lateral connections, a centralized lift station, and 6 miles of PVC force main to nearby Jerseyville, who will provide bulk wastewater treatment for Kane utilizing existing treatment infrastructure. The project is expected to begin construction in 2017.
Administrator McBride praised Village officials and engineers for their foresight and commitment to making the necessary investments to the infrastructure in their community, and for their partnership with the City of Jerseyville to ensure residents have safe and reliable water service.
Kane and Greene County were proactive about including infrastructure improvements in long-range planning efforts. That strategic planning, along with the regional collaboration aspect of transmitting waste to Jerseyville for treatment, allowed the project to qualify for a priority Rural Development funding position under Section 6025 of the 2014 Farm Bill: Strategic Economic and Community Development. A total of $3,371,400 was awarded to Kane for the project, representing $1,194,000 in loan and $2,177,400 in grant funds, using Section 6025 National Water & Waste Disposal set-aside funds.
Since 2009 in Illinois, 225 projects have been funded totaling over $315.3 million for new or improved water and waste infrastructure. These investments have benefited 500,842 people (185,497 households and businesses) in 70 counties throughout Illinois. They are part of USDA Rural Development’s total investment in Illinois of over $4.4 billion in the last 7 years.
“We know many communities in rural Illinois are dealing with aging infrastructure and other issues,” said Colleen Callahan, USDA Rural Development Director for Illinois. “We appreciate Administrator McBride coming to Illinois to support these efforts and encourage other communities to work with us to make investments in safe, clean water for their future.”
On April 19th, in recognition of the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced 60 projects totaling over $183 million in loans and grants to improve rural water and waste infrastructure.
The investments span 33 states and demonstrate USDA’s continued commitment to ensuring that rural environmental resources are protected and that rural citizens have clean, safe, reliable water and waste service.