WASHINGTON, Dec. 4, 2018 – 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 for 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states.
“Access to water is a key driver for economic opportunity and quality of life in rural communities,” Hazlett said. “Under the leadership of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to rural communities in building prosperity through modern water infrastructure.”
USDA is providing financing for 234 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.
Below are some examples of the investments USDA is making in Pennsylvania:
- The Municipal Authority of the Borough of Berlin is receiving a $2.5 million loan to replace the primary water transmission line for the Berlin Municipal Water System. The line was constructed in 1979, is in poor condition, has experienced numerous breaks resulting in boil water notices, and has inadequate water pressure to fight fires. The investment will also help replace water meters. This system serves nearly 1,100 users in Berlin and in Brothers Valley township in Somerset County.
- The Borough of Smethport Authority will use a $4,349,800 loan to replace and upgrade both water distribution and sewer collection and conveyance lines. The investment will also help replace fire hydrants. The conveyance lines are more than 50 years old and need replacement due to water loss. This project will also provide sufficient water volume and pressure to meet the firefighting demand, which is lacking in the area. This investment will benefit the 1,017 water and sewer customers which include 857 are residential dwellings and 160 commercial users.
- Shenandoah Municipal Sewage Authority is receiving a $12,532,000 loan and a $5,474,000 grant to replace the existing wastewater treatment plant. The new system will comply with a consent order and agreement with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to meet permit requirements and nutrient reduction requirements under the Chesapeake Bay mandate. This treatment facility is located in West Mahanoy Township and also serves the borough of Shenandoah in Schuylkill County, PA. The project will serve approximately 2,833 residential customers and 410 commercial customers for a total of 3,243 customers.
- The Dunbar Borough/Township Sanitary Authority will use a $332,000 loan and $1,107,200 grant to construct new sewer line extensions to service the Hardy Hill and Airport areas located within Dunbar Township, Fayette County. This project will add 40 additional residential and businesses to the public sewer system.
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 www.rd.usda.gov.