USDA Encourages Rural Communities, Water Districts to Apply for Loans to Improve, Rebuild Infrastructure; $4 Billion Available

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Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced a historic commitment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade and rebuild rural water infrastructure. Two of these USDA investments will be used to build new infrastructure in rural Kentucky.

“Building infrastructure across rural Kentucky is one of my top priorities,” said Hilda Legg, USDA Rural Development State Director. “Our hard-working people need modern infrastructure to grow their economies, and accessing clean water is critical for community development, as well as healthy families.”

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.

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.

The City of Clarkson investment will be used to complete the renovation of two existing pump stations, cleaning the existing lagoon, replacing sand filters with disc filters, and adding peracetic acid for disinfection. The city's sewer system is approximately thirty years old, and this project will allow the city to provide safe, sanitary, and dependable waste disposal for approximately 419 existing customers in rural Grayson County.

The McCreary County Water District investment will be used to construct approximately six miles of water transmission main, perform chemical storage improvements at the wastewater treatment plant, and install a water line and valves to supply water to an existing water storage tank. These improvements will alleviate inadequate water quality and dependability, and will bring the wastewater treatment plant into compliance with current regulatory requirements. The water district serves an existing 6,158 water and 1,122 sewer customers in rural McCreary County.

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 $1.2 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

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.

Last Modified: 07/30/2018