Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $1.2 billion to assist 936,000 rural Americans living in 46 states, including Alabama.
Locally, Alabama State Director for Rural Development Chris Beeker III announced that $8.7 million of USDA’s investment will help improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural Alabama.
“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.”
Beeker said USDA is providing financing for four water and wastewater infrastructure projects in Alabama 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. 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 state or field offices.
Below are the investments USDA is making in Alabama:
• In Baldwin County, the Belforest Water System will use a $2,300,000 loan to make infrastructure improvements. Upgrades include the installation of a larger water main along County Road 64 and interconnecting water distribution lines throughout the system. Customers are experiencing low water pressure, and some have been without water for extended periods of time due to water main breaks and required repairs. This capital improvement project will help the Belforest Water System provide a more efficient, safe and reliable drinking water supply to its customers. The larger water main along County Road 64 will provide increased water pressure. Interconnecting lines within the system will provide customers a more dependable, consistent water supply and will help eliminate water outages. This rural water system provides water service to approximately 4,064 customers in Baldwin County.
• The Greene County Water and Sewer Authority will receive a $919,000 loan and a $426,000 grant to repair and repaint three water storage tanks and build a new office building. Refurbishing the water tanks is needed to prevent deterioration. The Greene County Water and Sewer Authority is renting its office building, which no longer meets its needs and does not have sufficient, secured storage space for trucks and equipment. The new building will provide ample secured storage for trucks, tools and equipment. One of the three storage bays will provide drive-through access to allow for more efficient delivery of equipment and supplies. The Authority serves approximately 1,342 customers in Greene County.
• The City of Arab’s Water Works Board will use a $3,617,000 loan to repair and repaint six water storage tanks. This project is necessary to prevent future deterioration and the possibility of contaminants infiltrating the water supply. This infrastructure improvement project will help the city continue providing safe, affordable drinking water to its 12,153 customers in Marshall County.
• In Sardis City, the Water Works and Sewer Board is receiving a $843,000 loan and a $677,000 grant to replace and upgrade wastewater system pumps. Sardis City's wastewater collection system has been in service for many years and is experiencing inflow and infiltration issues. The proposed improvements will ensure the continued treatment of sanitary waste in the most cost-effective manner. Sardis City's wastewater system serves 39 residential customers and 21 commercial and business customers in Etowah County.
In addition to Alabama, USDA is making investments in rural communities in: Alaska, 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.