Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is providing more than $352 million in loans and grants to upgrade rural water and wastewater systems nationwide, including more than to Wisconsin communities.
“These investments are critical for our health and safety, and in the long term for sustainable economic development,” Vilsack said. “Investments like these in the nation’s water infrastructure also are critical to address the impact of climate change on our water supplies. The projects supported with these resources will ensure rural families have access to clean water and create jobs in communities across the country.”
USDA will finance more than $10.4 million in loans and $3.1 million in grants to improve water quality and help protect the environment and natural resources. The projects listed below will not only help ensure rural places have access to clean water, but will also create jobs and help communities retain and attract new businesses and families.
- City of Edgerton - a $7.8 million loan and $2.5 million grant to upgrade its 31-year-old water treatment facility. The city is under a schedule of compliance with the Department of Natural Resources. The new facility will allow the city to meet newly imposed discharge limits.
- City of Viroqua - two loans totaling $2.6 million and $490,000 grant to replace water and sewer mains throughout the city.
- Village of Cazenovia - a $30,000 grant to help fund the preliminary engineering work necessary to upgrade the Village of Cazenovia wastewater treatment system that will accommodate service extension to Germantown and Ironton.
- University of Wisconsin Systems-UW Oshkosh - a $136,700 grant to research the “Optimization of a Small Farm Bio-digester” by providing technical assistance, and create a curriculum and corresponding documents with the commissioning of the Titan 55, a small-farm bio-digester, in Allenville, WI. The lasting effects of this project will be to improve management of solid waste in environmentally sound ways creating additional jobs, sustainable operations and a reduction in unprocessed waste on the surrounding land in rural dairy farms.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $11 billion in new and improved water and wastewater infrastructure that has benefited nearly 15 million rural residents and almost six million households and businesses.
USDA is providing $175 million in loans and $165 million in grants through the Water and Environmental Program. This is part of more than $1.5 billion USDA invested in rural water and wastewater projects during the 2014 Fiscal Year, which ended September 30. The Water and Environmental Program provides loans and grants to ensure that necessary investments are made in water and wastewater infrastructure to ensure safe drinking water and protect the environment in rural areas.
In April, USDA allocated $150 million in Farm Bill grants plus $237 million in Rural Development funds for the Department’s largest Earth Day investment in rural water and wastewater systems.
USDA Rural Development invests in jobs, infrastructure, community development, health, education, homeownership and affordable rental housing to improve the lives of people in rural areas and the economic health of rural communities. During the last year, the agency has assisted nearly 9,000 families and businesses in more than100 communities, investing more than $838 million into rural Wisconsin through affordable loans, loan guarantees and grants.
President Obama’s historic investments in rural America have made our rural communities stronger. Under his leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America’s economy, small towns and rural communities. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs visit USDA’s web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/wi.