Southwest Harbor, Rockland, and Bridgton to Benefit
Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure in 46 states. In Maine, three communities will benefit from $46 million in investments.
“These investments will create economic prosperity, improve the delivery of safe drinking water, and help safeguard public health by modernizing waste disposal infrastructure in rural communities,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA’s partnerships with local officials and businesses help improve the quality of life and strengthen rural communities.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “The investment of $46 million in three Maine wastewater systems will be of immense benefit to the communities who are served. These upgrades will modernize decades-old wastewater infrastructure, resulting in increased efficiencies, advancements in technology, and ensuring Maine’s environment is preserved for the people fortunate enough to call Maine home.”
In Maine, three wastewater facilities have been selected to receive a combination of Water and Waste Loans and Grants:
Southwest Harbor Water and Sewer District has been selected to receive a total of $15,684,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to upgrade the District's Wastewater Treatment Facility and pump stations. The project will remove processing equipment that has exceeded its useful life, replace and expand existing structures, and improve overall efficiencies of the treatment process. The improvements include building upgrades, pump station upgrades, new blowers, sludge pumps, dumping station, sludge dewatering, and clarifiers. Upgrades include higher efficiency equipment, which will result in more affordable operations for the users of the system. The wastewater treatment facility provides essential wastewater services to its 539 residential, and 128 commercial and governmental customers. Maintaining a healthy waterfront is essential to this region's economy. It will aid future economic growth and it is estimated that project funds will help to create or save approximately 378 jobs. Upgrades to the sewer system play an important role in preserving Southwest Harbor as a working waterfront that relies on tourism, eco-tourism, recreational and commercial boating, and commercial fishing in order to maintain a viable economy.
City of Rockland has been selected to receive a total of $10,000,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to rehabilitate the city of Rockland, Maine's, wastewater treatment facility, upgrade some aging sewer collection infrastructure, and correct some Combined Sewer Overflow abatement issues. The proposed project will focus on the wastewater system as it is in need of immediate upgrades. Some of the plant's original equipment and processes are upwards of forty years old, and the overall facility is well beyond the twenty-year useful life for which it was originally designed. The rehabilitation improvements address the aging infrastructure and capacity issues in the project area, as well as restore the design capacity of the facility at a reasonable cost. The proposed upgrades will help the system operate more effectively and efficiently. The upgrades included in this project will have the greatest benefit to the distribution system, which serves 2,943 users.
Town of Bridgton has been selected to receive a total of $20,437,000. This Rural Development investment will be used to rehabilitate the Town of Bridgton's wastewater treatment system. The proposed project is to construct a new wastewater treatment facility, upgrade some aging sewer collection infrastructure, and to expand the system which will enable additional users in the greater downtown area to have access to public wastewater services. The expansion portion of the project is expected to add 448 new users, increasing the total number of users on the system from 207 to 655. The proposed project will focus on the wastewater system/facility as it is in need of immediate upgrades. Some of the plant's original equipment and processes are upwards of thirty-five years old, and the overall facility is well beyond the twenty-year useful life for which it was originally designed. Several key unit processes at the plant are inefficient, inadequate, or obsolete. The rehabilitation improvements address the aging infrastructure and capacity issues in the project area, as well as restore the design capacity of the facility at a reasonable cost. The proposed upgrades will help the system operate more effectively and efficiently. Additional funding includes $2,000,000 from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund and $443,000 from the Town of Bridgton.
USDA is providing financing for 235 water and environmental infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funding can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
USDA is making investments in rural communities in: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and West Virginia.
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 at www.rd.usda.gov.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. Rural Development staff work diligently to deliver the agency's Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/me.