Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Joel Baxley announced that USDA is investing in 40 projects in 20 states to improve rural water infrastructure.
According to Kentucky USDA Rural Development State Director Hilda Legg, these investments include more than $12 million loan and grant funds for improvement and expansion of four projects in our rural communities. “While Rural Development has played a critical role in building the water infrastructure across rural Kentucky, we need to be cognizant of the fact that once the systems are constructed, they need to be maintained,” Legg said.
USDA is investing $82 million through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. Rural communities, water districts and other eligible entities can use the funds for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems. The projects must be in rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Current USDA investments in the rural communities of Kentucky include:
The City of Leitchfield was awarded a loan over $4.5 million and a grant of $961,000 to assist in constructing a new four million gallons per day water treatment plant. The existing plant must be replaced due to structural deficiencies and its inability to meet capacity and water quality regulations from the Division of Water. The new plant will be more efficient and will be able to meet current and future demands, as well as comply with more stringent water quality regulations. The city of Leitchfield serves over 2,800 customers in rural Grayson County.
Central City was awarded $4 million low-interest loan and $1.4 million grant funds to expand the existing wastewater treatment plant to a capacity of 1.8 million gallons per day. The expansion includes the replacements of vital components and deteriorating sewer lines in downtown Central City. This project will allow the city to provide safe and sanitary means of waste disposal for 1,896 existing water customers in Muhlenberg County.
The Jessamine-South Elkhorn Water District will benefit from a $245,000 low-interest loan to replace approximately 480 manual read meters with new mobile read meters for customers in the southeast service area. Once the replacements are made, the customers will achieve compliance with the Public Service Commission requirements and have accurate and efficient monitoring of water usage and loss in rural Jessamine County.
The City of Sebree was awarded $950,000 in loan and grant funds for use in replacing approximately 9,000 linear feet of aged retaining wall and deteriorating sanitary sewer line. These improvements will protect the city's sewer main, stabilize the creek bank, and provide cover for exposed pipe at several creek crossings that will reduce inflow and infiltration from failing water lines. The project will provide safe and sanitary means of waste disposal for 517 customers in rural Webster County.
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. In addition, to view the categories of the recommendations, please view the Rural Prosperity infographic.
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.