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. Projects in Harpers Ferry and Marshall County were among those included in today’s announcement.
“Modern infrastructure is critical for a high quality of life and economic opportunities – no matter where you live,” said USDA Rural Development West Virginia State Director Kris Warner. “USDA is committed to being a strong partner in addressing rural infrastructure needs to support a more prosperous future across rural West Virginia.”
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.
Below are some examples of USDA’s partnerships in water infrastructure in West Virginia:
• In Harpers Ferry, Rural Development funds will be used to construct a new raw water pumping station, enhanced pre-treatment system, membrane filtration, new clear-well, new finished water pumps, and upgraded liquid chemical feeds. It will also provide a new emergency generator at the treatment plant, install a new telemetry system, upgrade waterlines, provide a new booster pump station, and repair and repaint two water storage tanks. Harpers Ferry Water Works currently serves approximately 821 customers within the Corporation of Harpers Ferry, Bolivar, and the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park.
• Funds invested in the Marshall County Public Service District No. 4 will be used for the construction of approximately 9,000 feet of six and two-inch waterline from the District’s existing water system to serve 24 new users. Other system improvements include the installation of 1,442 radio read meters and the construction of a new water storage tank to replace an aging welded steel tank. The project will benefit additional rural residents as well as the District’s current customers.
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.