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USDA Investment helps upgrade Wilkshire Hills water treatment system

Heather Hartley
Release Date

USDA Ohio Rural Development State Director David L. Hall today announced Tuscarawas County’s Wilkshire Hills water treatment plant is among 45 projects in 25 states set to receive Water and Environmental Program funding.

   “As part of the Tuscarawas County Metropolitan Sewer District, the Wilkshire Hills facility has served the area’s rural citizens admirably since its inception more than 40 years ago,” said Hall. “Access to safe drinking water and functional wastewater treatment is the very bedrock foundation of rural infrastructure. With this USDA investment, the aging system will undergo a modernization that not only ensures safe and effective operations now, but also allows for future expansion.”

   Funding from the combined $2.2 million loan and $1.4 million grant will be used to add a third supply well and install new pressure filtration equipment and master meters that will benefit an estimated 3,000 rural Tuscarawas County residents. In the past 30 years, the Wilkshire Hills plant has grown to include Mineral City, Sandy Township, the Lawrence Township Industrial Park, Tuscarawas Valley Local Schools, and Sandyville and the Sandy Valley Local School District. An expansion to Zoarville currently is underway, and there are plans to encompass Bolivar, as well.

   Today’s announcement includes projects funded through USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Eligible applicants include rural cities and towns, and water districts, which can use the funds for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

   In addition to the Ohio project, investments announced today include projects in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

   At the beginning of fiscal year 2019, USDA had $2.9 billion available for Water and Environmental Program loans and grants and expects to make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.

   View the interactive RD Apply tool or contact one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices for application or eligibility information.

   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 facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.