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USDA Invests $30 Million for Infrastructure and Education Facility Upgrades in Rural South Carolina

Stephanie Bittiker
Columbia, S.C.
Release Date

New Infrastructure Will Improve and Support a Growing Economy for Thousands of People in South Carolina

SANTEE S.C., Aug. 8, 2022 - U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small and Congressman James Clyburn (S.C. District 6) today announced $30 million in investments that will create opportunities for students and improve infrastructure for thousands of people in South Carolina. USDA is investing $11.8 million to improve the Santee Wastewater Treatment Plant. USDA is also investing $18 million to construct a new Student Activity and Community Center at Claflin University.

“At Rural Development, we believe in every rural American’s limitless possibility,” said Under Secretary Torres Small. “That’s why we champion rural people by investing in critical services like wastewater infrastructure and educational facilities because these investments improve the quality of life for rural families and foster greater economic security. Under the leadership of President Biden, Vice President Harris, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, and House Whip Clyburn, USDA knows rural America is America’s backbone, and prosperity here means prosperity for our entire Nation.”

“The Biden-Harris Administration is proud to announce that USDA is investing nearly $30 million for infrastructure improvements throughout South Carolina,” said USDA State Director for South Carolina Dr. Saundra Glover. “Upgrading infrastructure provides a path to economic growth and protects the health and safety of people who live and work in rural areas; and supporting our local education institutions means we’re supporting opportunities for America’s future leaders to hone their skills and achieve their dreams. These investments allow our rural communities and the people living in them to not only survive, but to thrive.”

Water and Waste Improvement

Critical upgrades for future expansion will be made possible through a USDA Rural Development Water and Waste Disposal Loan of $5,054,000 and grant of $6,839,300 to the Town of Santee. 

This essential USDA Rural Development funding will be used to convert an outdated aerated lagoon system to a Sequencing Batch Reactor system with capabilities to expand the system in the future.  This project will involve an expansion of Santee’s water waste treatment plant (WWTP)  from 0.713 million gallons per day (MGD) to 1.5 MGD with an ability to future expand to 3 MGD when the need arises.  The expansion of the Santee WWTP is necessary to ensure that wastewater discharged into the Santee Wastewater System continues to be properly treated and the region has the ability to serve current and future economic development. 

USDA Rural Development’s Water and Environmental Programs help rural communities obtain the technical assistance and financing necessary to develop drinking water and waste disposal systems. sanitary waste disposal systems and clean drinking water are vital not only to public health, but also to the economic vitality of rural America.  Rural Development is a leader in helping rural America improve the quality of life and increase the economic opportunities for rural people.

Community Facilities Improvement

The $18 Million Investment made possible through USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities and Direct Loan and Guaranteed Loan Program will enable Claflin University to construct a Student Activity and Community Center that is anticipated to be a three-story, approximately 85,000-square-foot student-focused facility that will host classrooms, student life activities, an E-sports area, student meeting spaces, and a student-focused café that is able to partner with national food service brands.  Indoor and outdoor soft areas for seating and gatherings will be provided both on the ground level and third floor.  Shared student/community spaces will include a performing arts/theatre auditorium and a conference/ballroom with an 800-person seating capacity. 

USDA Rural Development’s Community Facilities Programs offer direct loans, loan guarantees and grants to develop or improve essential public services and facilities in communities across rural America. These amenities help increase the competitiveness of rural communities in attracting and retaining businesses that provide employment and services for their residents.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans 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, Tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.


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