U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) State Director for Rural Development in Mississippi John Rounsaville today announced that USDA is investing $135 million in 49 projects to improve rural water infrastructure in 24 states, with over $11 million being awarded to projects in Mississippi.
“Rural Development has low interest financing and grant programs to address the current and long-term water needs of rural communities,” Rounsaville said. “Modernizing water infrastructure is crucial to making rural communities healthy and attractive places to live and work.”
USDA is making the investments through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Rural cities and towns, water districts and other eligible entities can use the funds for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Below are examples of projects announced today that show how USDA is partnering to improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in Mississippi.
- The Sun Creek Water Association in Pheba, Mississippi received $895,000 in loans and grants, and will use funding to construct a new water well and generator to maintain adequate supply and pressure throughout the water system during peak flows, preventing health concerns caused by the loss of water pressure. These planned improvements will significantly improve the supply capacity and storage for 1,716 people who are served by this water system and will benefit the system as a whole.
- The Moore Bayou Water Association in Marks, Mississippi received $602,000 in loans and grants, and will use funding to connect the Dublin system to Moore’s north system, creating a redundant source of water in accordance with requirements of the Mississippi Department of Health. An aeration tower will be constructed at the Dublin well site to reduce the amount of sulfur in the raw water. This project will benefit 1,280 people by improving the availability and quality of their drinking water.
- Russell Utilities Inc., in Toomsuba, Mississippi received $970,000 in loans and grants, which will be used to construct a 400-gallon-per-minute replacement water well, repair and repaint a 180,000-gallon ground level water storage tank, and replace the current manual-read meters with ultrasonic water meters. Additionally, new electrical and control system upgrades will be installed at the water treatment plant, service pumps, and booster pump. Finally, the pressure reducing valve at the emergency tie-in to the Town of Marion will be replaced, and a new standby generator will be installed at well number four. The results of these improvements will be improved services for this rural water system's 1,900 customers providing adequate, clean water to its customers for many years to come.
- The Town of Como, Mississippi received $4,393,000 in loans and grants, and will use funds to improve the town's water system by rehabilitating a 300,000-gallon elevated water storage tank, demolishing a 100,000-gallon tank that has deteriorated beyond repair, and replacing all water meters throughout the system with radio read meters. The wastewater system will also be renovated by constructing new gravity and pressure sewers, rehabilitating four pumping stations, and removing three stations from service and constructing gravity sewers in their place. The repairs to the wastewater system will correct a violation of the facility's Clean Water Act National Pollution Discharge Elimination System. This project will benefit Como's 1,279 citizens by providing better overall water and wastewater services.
- Northeast Perry Utility Association, located in Richton, received $1,120,000 in loans and grants, which will be used for the construction of a new 400 gallon-per-minute water well at Camp Eight Road which will replace the old well that will be abandoned. A generator will be installed at the new well in addition to a lime feeder. The filter media will be replaced to filter out the iron that is in the raw water, and automatic read meters will be installed to provide better readings and curb water loss, benefitting 983 customers.
- Tishomingo County Water District received $3,498,000 in funding and will use funds to provide water directly to its customers by acquiring the necessary land to construct four groundwater wells and a drinking water treatment system. The City of Iuka currently sells water to the District, but the District recognizes the need to be self-sufficient in order to provide an adequate water supply to customers at all times. Additionally, some distribution lines experiencing a higher rate of water loss will be replaced. This will allow the Water District to be self-sustaining, resulting in increased efficiency and more reliable service for all customers.
Congress appropriated $2.9 billion for USDA Water and Environmental Program loans and grants in fiscal year 2019. USDA will make additional funding announcements in coming weeks.
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.