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USDA Announces Investments to Improve Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in Rural Communities

Megan Roush
Release Date

Funding Will Benefit Rural Communities in Vermont and More Than 73,000 People in 23 States.

    Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett visited Louisiana today to announce that USDA is investing more than $124 million to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 23 states. One project in Vermont is receiving funding.

   “Modern, reliable water infrastructure not only provides health and environmental benefits, but also provides a foundation for economic growth and prosperity,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s investments and partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to ensuring that rural residents and businesses have the infrastructure needed for their communities to thrive.”  

   “We have aging infrastructure in Vermont,” Vermont USDA Rural Development state director Anthony Linardos said. “We need to be investing in water systems across our state to accommodate current and future capacity. These types of infrastructure improvements are essential for community development, and are the foundation for enhancing the quality of life and prosperity in rural Vermont.”

   USDA is providing the funding through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

   Hazlett announced that the following projects in Vermont will receive USDA funding.

  • Coventry Fire District No. 1 is receiving a $298,000 loan and a $992,000 grant to upgrade their water system. The project includes replacing deteriorated water lines and an arsenic, iron and manganese removal system.  The improvements will address health and safety issues and put the system in compliance with the Vermont Water Supply Rule. The system serves 60 customers.  The State Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund is providing $40,000 in additional funding. 

   The funding that USDA is announcing today will benefit communities in Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Vermont and West Virginia.

   In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.6 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

   Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.

    In April 2017, President Donald J. Trump established the Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity to identify legislative, regulatory and policy changes that could promote agriculture and prosperity in rural communities. In January 2018, Secretary Perdue presented the Task Force’s findings to President Trump. These findings included 31 recommendations to align the federal government with state, local and tribal governments to take advantage of opportunities that exist in rural America. Increasing investments in rural infrastructure is a key recommendation of the task force.

   To view the report in its entirety, please view the Report to the President of the United States from the Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity (PDF, 5.4 MB). In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic (PDF, 190 KB).

   USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community services such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.