Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $267 million in 103 infrastructure projects to upgrade water and wastewater systems in rural communities.
“Robust, modern infrastructure is foundational for quality of life and economic opportunity – no matter what zip code you live in,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in addressing rural infrastructure needs to support a more prosperous future in rural communities.”
USDA is making investments in 35 states through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Two infrastructure projects in New Mexico are included in this announcement they are:
• The Pueblo Los Cerros Unit Owners Association (near Corrales, NM) is receiving a $894,400 loan to replace its existing wastewater facility due to the system’s aging infrastructure. The wastewater system will now be connected to the City of Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority (ABCWUA) sewer system. Connecting to ABCWUA sewer system was determined to be the most cost-effective option for the community when compared to the cost of repairing the current wastewater facility versus building a new wastewater treatment facility. The project will consist of installing a one-mile long sewer line that will connect to ABCWUA sewer system via a lift station. The improvements will benefit 1 commercial user and 100 residential users within the community.
• The City of Tucumcari, NM will receive a $5,634,400 loan/grant funding package to upgrade the city’s wastewater treatment plant effluent reuse project. The funds will be used to address the City of Tucumcari's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violation by implementing a total reuse project that requires zero discharge. The City of Tucumcari will purchase the Smith property which is 318 acres in size to extend the system and install sprinklers that would allow the storage of the treated effluent and irrigate during the irrigation season. The project will consist of the construction of one reuse storage pond, a new manhole structure, extension and modifications to gravity effluent pipelines, a pump station, and improvements to the existing effluent irrigation system. The improvements will benefit the 1,920 residential and 379 commercial users within the community.
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. It also directs Agriculture Secretary Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.
Rural community leaders can apply for these funds electronically by using the interactive RD Apply tool. They can also 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.