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 Curran-Gardner Townships Public Water District, which has been awarded a $4 million loan through Rural Development’s Water & Waste Disposal program.
“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 Administrator McBride.
Due to the age of the Curran-Gardner water treatment plant (WTP), a number of components are in need of replacement and/or major renovation. As a result, water production is limited and maintenance requirements are high.
The proposed project calls for replacing half of the existing WTP and includes renovations to the waste water lagoon, communication upgrades and a standby generator for the well field. The project will be built on the existing treatment plant grounds.
McBride recognized the Water District Chairman, James Mitchell; Water District Office Manager Cherril Graff; and Engineer Max Middendorf and thanked them for their leadership and dedication. He noted that rural residents count on their community and water leaders to make these investments so they have clean, safe water coming out of the tap, as well as sanitary sewer service for generations to come.
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.