The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development office in Virginia today announced that USDA is investing more than $7.3 million in water infrastructure in Pulaski and Lee counties.
“This program supports investments in modern and reliable infrastructure for small rural communities to help extend and improve water and waste treatment facilities to local homes and businesses,” said Beth Green, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “With today’s investments in water infrastructure, we are helping to address community health concerns and improve water systems that are necessary for rural Virginians to achieve a basic quality of life.”
Today’s awardees are:
Pulaski County Public Service Authority is receiving a $717,000 direct loan to cover the cost overrun on sewer system improvements. The project includes the installation of approximately 37 miles of gravity sewer, 10 miles of sanitary force main, 14 sewer lift stations, and associated appurtenances. Residents in the Skyview, Hubbard Way, and Fair Acres subdivisions all have homes with failing septic systems. Raw or partially treated effluent seeps above ground, and the effluent carries pathogenic organisms which pose a health risk not only to humans and animals but to groundwater. These health issues are documented by the New River Health District. This project will correct the existing health hazard and extend public sewer service to 79 new residential properties. The project consisted of an original $1,249,000 loan in fiscal year 2013.
Woodway Water and Sewer Authority in Lee County, a persistent poverty county, is receiving a $4,195,000 direct loan and a $2,402,000 grant to make needed improvements to the water system. Construction includes replacing leaking and undersized water lines, installing valves, new fire hydrants and related appurtenances. This project will improve accountability, increase water pressure and reduce the amount of maintenance time and costs with repairing water line breaks. The water system serves approximately 1,100 residential and 20 commercial users.
The loans 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.
This announcement comes as part of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement today highlighting that USDA is investing $256 million in 81 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 35 states including Virginia.
“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.
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.