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USDA Announces $18.3 Million to Protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Delaware River Basin

Andrew Stacy
Release Date

Projects Will Build Clean Water Infrastructure and Create Jobs for People Living in Rural Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia 

CHESAPEAKE CITY, Md., April 21, 2023 – Ahead of Earth Day, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small joined Sen. Tom Carper and environmental partners to announce $18.3 million in investments to protect and preserve the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Delaware River Basin. The funding will help build clean water infrastructure and create jobs that will benefit people living in rural Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

In West Virginia, USDA is investing $2.5 million under the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant program. The town of Romney is receiving a $1.6 million loan and an $865,000 grant to upgrade the water distribution and treatment system and replace approximately 3 miles of water line. Funds also will be used to replace valves, meters, pumps and more.

USDA Rural Development West Virginia State Director Ryan Thorn said, “This USDA Rural Development investment will not only benefit rural residents in the town of Romney, but it will also help protect the Chesapeake Bay, which is enjoyed by millions of Americans every year. These investments across seven states showcase Rural Development’s commitment to improving the quality of life in rural America and truly exemplifies its motto of Together, America Prospers.”

Under Secretary Torres Small also attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a landmark wastewater treatment facility for the town of Chesapeake City, Maryland. USDA provided a Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan in the amount of $1,500,000 and Grant in the amount of $5,029,000 and the Maryland Department of the Environment contributed $6.9 million to help build the facility.

“The Chesapeake Bay watershed and Delaware River Basin provide so many benefits to this region, and USDA is committed to making sure rural people can count on these iconic waterways for generations to come,” Torres Small said. “USDA is proud to celebrate Earth Day alongside Senator Carper to show how President Biden is supporting locally driven solutions that expand access to safe drinking water, reliable wastewater infrastructure, renewable energy and essential services that create jobs, build critical infrastructure and create sustainable futures in rural America.”

Today’s announcement highlights water and wastewater infrastructure investments in Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to protect waterways and create jobs for people in rural areas across the Northeastern United States.

In Maryland, $7.9 million is being invested under the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant program in the following communities:

  • The town of La Plata is receiving a $2.7 million loan to provide additional funds to improve the town’s sewer system. The town will build a central regional pumping station and install a 24-inch sewer line to the wastewater treatment plant.
  • The town of Grantsville is receiving a $141,000 loan and a $419,000 grant to improve the sewer system and address infiltration issues and inflow spikes caused by heavy rain. This project will benefit people living in the town and other parts of Garrett County. 
  • The town of Emmitsburg is receiving a $1 million grant to replace a sanitary sewage pumping station on Creamery Road. The new pump station will limit overflows and eliminate the risk of violating state mandates. 
  • Worcester County is receiving a $1.5 million loan and a $1 million grant to extend the Ocean Pines water service area to 58 households in the St. Martins by the Bay subdivision. The project will help mitigate well contamination by elevating the community's water source, ensuring access to safe, reliable drinking water.
  • Fahrney-Keedy Memorial Home is receiving a $1.1 million loan to help build a stormwater management system for the Fahrney-Keedy Home and Village Campus. The project will improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and reduce stormwater pollution.

In Pennsylvania, the Loysville Municipal Authority will receive a $1.3 million loan and a $7.1 million grant under the Water and Waste Disposal Direct Loan and Grant Program to build a new garage and upgrade the wastewater treatment plant’s sewer interceptor along Weavers Mill Road and its collection system. 

In New Jersey, the borough of Woodbine is receiving an $800,000 Water and Waste Disposal Direct Grant to upgrade the water treatment plant. The project will help fix lime tanks, a chlorinator and other deteriorated equipment. Funds also will be used to replace heaters and the roof, and cover engineering design and inspection fees.

Background: The Chesapeake Bay Watershed and Delaware River Basin 
Hundreds of rural communities are nestled in and around the Chesapeake Bay watershed. USDA Rural Development and its dedicated team play a vital role in protecting the environment and preserving the pristine nature of these natural wonders with investments made through its Water and Environmental Programs.
The Chesapeake Bay and the more than 150 rivers and streams that flow into it make up the largest estuary in the United States and the third largest in the world. The watershed extends into Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York and Washington, D.C.  Approximately 18 million people live, work and recreate within the watershed. 

The Delaware River Basin, similarly, is vitally important to the people living in the states it runs through. More than 15 million people in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware rely on it for drinking water and so much more. 

Through investments that upgrade and improve water and wastewater infrastructure, the agency is helping to ensure the quality of life for families who have built their livelihoods on the opportunities made possible by these iconic waterways. 
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, tribal and high-poverty areas. 


USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.