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USDA Invests in Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in 12 Rural Minnesotan Communities

Nikki Gillespie
Release Date

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced nearly $50 million in investments to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for more than 13,400 rural Minnesotans.

   “Access to modern water infrastructure is essential to the continued prosperity of rural communities,” Finstad said. “USDA is committed to its partnerships that drive this prosperity and assist with innovative solutions to the needs of each unique rural community.”

   Below are a few examples of the investments USDA is making in Minnesota:  

   The city of Mahnomen is receiving an $11.9 million loan to make improvements to the water, sewer and storm water systems that serve more than 1,200 residents in Mahnomen and on the White Earth Band of Chippewa reservation. Aging infrastructure has resulted in costly, regular maintenance and potential hazardous conditions for users. This project will help eliminate infiltration issues and cracked piping.

   The city of Tracy is receiving an $8.4 million loan (and a $4.5 million grant) to complete phase III of an ongoing water, wastewater and sewer infrastructure project. Existing piping was originally constructed of clay and has aged to a brittle state, resulting in cracks and leaving the system at risk for leaks. This project will help replace nearly 50 blocks worth of pipe and street reconstruction and expand service for the surrounding community of nearly 2,100 residents.

   The city of Northome is receiving a $2.5 million loan (and a $1.5 million grant) to make water and sewer system infrastructure improvements. Existing water lines are approximately 78 years old with numerous valves no longer working, causing weak water pressure throughout the city, including fire rescue assistance. The current water tower requires regular maintenance, surpassing the cost of constructing a new tower and has several contaminant issues caused by lead paint. This project will replace aging infrastructure, improving water quality, pressure and utility affordability for the nearly 5,000 local residents.

   Finstad’s announcement is in coordination with the nationwide announcement made by Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today that USDA is investing $1.2 billion to help rebuild and improve rural water infrastructure for 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states.

   USDA is providing financing for 234 water and environmental infrastructure projects in 46 states through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program: 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.

   The funding can be used for drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.      

   Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s Area Offices.

   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/mn.