USDA today announced funding for critical infrastructure projects in rural Coos and Douglas Counties. The two Oregon projects are among 74 selected nationwide to improve water and wastewater systems for more than 211,000 rural residents.
“In addition to protecting health, safety and overall water quality, these projects will improve the economic outlook for these communities,” said Vicki Walker, State Director of USDA Rural Development. “Rural businesses and residents need access to clean water and modern waste disposal systems to ensure a decent quality of life and help attract – and keep – residents and businesses,” she said.
The City of Powers in rural Coos County will receive $4.9 million in USDA financing to replace their aging and inadequate wastewater treatment system and meet water quality standards.
The Dane Clark Water District, which provides residential water in the Rice Hill area of rural Douglas County, will receive $282,700 in USDA financing to replace an obsolete redwood water tank and treatment system.
In addition to the projects announced today, USDA Rural Development earlier this year provided financing for three other rural Oregon water and wastewater infrastructure projects. This summer, USDA provided $2.2 million in loans to the City of Hood River for sewer line improvements and $1.8 million in financing to Shoreline Sanitary District in Warrenton to construct two new submersible pumping stations and a force main for their wastewater treatment system. Earlier in the year, the City of Monument received $368,505 in USDA financing to improve equipment associated with the city-owned wastewater system.
Through the current announcement, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced a total of $203 million to finance water and infrastructure improvement projects in 40 states through USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Program. Posted online is a list of projects that will receive USDA funding, contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their funding agreements.
Since 2009, USDA Rural Development has financed nearly 3,900 water and wastewater projects with funding authorized through the Farm Bill. These projects have created jobs and provided clean water for nearly 14 million rural residents.
According to Vilsack, passage of a comprehensive Food, Farm and Jobs bill would help tackle the $2.1 billion backlog of shovel-ready rural water/wastewater projects, and said the bill is vital to rural communities. These are just some of the reasons why Congress should pass a comprehensive bill as soon as possible, he said.
President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's 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. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values.