USDA Rural Development State Director Brad Finstad today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing in a $1.4 million water infrastructure project in southwestern Minnesota.
“Solid infrastructure is essential to the growth and development of every rural community,” Finstad said. “This project will help ensure that the nearly 1,200 people in the City of Edgerton will have access to affordable, safe drinking water. This is a great example of what can be accomplished through partnership.”
The $1.4 million announced today will help the city of Edgerton, Minn. connect to the Lincoln Pipestone Rural Water system. Edgerton’s well is more than 40 years old. The Minnesota Department of Health has prohibited the city from using a secondary, older well except for emergencies due to high nitrate levels and because untreated water would be discharged directly into the distribution system. The water from Lincoln Pipestone will be blended with water from Edgerton’s well as a useable backup system for its nearly 1,200 local residents.
Finstad’s announcement is in coordination with Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s nationwide announcement of $256 million being invested in 81 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas of 35 states.
“No matter what zip code you live in, infrastructure is a foundation for quality of life and economic opportunity,” Hazlett said. “Through strong partnerships, USDA is ensuring that rural communities have the modern, reliable infrastructure they need to prosper.”
The recently enacted Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes a significant boost in financial support for water and wastewater projects. It provides $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.
In addition to funding in the 2018 Omnibus bill, President Trump has proposed a $200 billion infrastructure investment that allocates 25 percent ($50 billion) to rural projects.
The loans and grants Hazlett announced today are being awarded through USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Other awards announced today include:
The Tri County Regional Water Distribution District, in Russellville, Ark. is receiving a $6.2 million USDA loan to construct a water treatment plant with new intake and water lines. The new plant will better serve customers during high demand and will help avoid unhealthy conditions. Tri County supplies water to Pope, Logan and Yell counties. The town of Ravenden is receiving $859,000 to construct a water supply well. The new well will correct system deficiencies to comply with health and sanitary regulatory standards for the 246 users.
$4.8 million for Moore County, N.C., to provide sewer service to the town of Vass. Nearly 40 percent of the town’s residents and businesses use privately-owned septic tanks and drain fields, many of which have exceeded their useful life. The new wastewater collection system will address widespread health and sanitary issues.
$446,000 for the Leroy Water Authority (Ala.) to improve its water system. Upgrades include replacing smaller water lines with three-inch lines. This will result in increased water pressure and better service to the Authority’s 531 customers. The population of Leroy, Ala., is 911.
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/mn.