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, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
In this announcement USDA obligated $35,754,732 for the following four rural New Mexico communities:
The City of Socorro will receive a Rural Development (RD) loan of $2,725,500 to repair equipment related to the wastewater system and install a dissolved oxygen control system to reduce sludge production and chemical usage within that community. The repairs are needed to maintain the structural integrity of the wastewater digester and thickener basins. The RD investment will serve 2,891 residents and 282 commercial users.
The Garfield water system in southern New Mexico will be upgraded with Rural Development’s (RD) investment to install approximately 18,000 linear feet (3.4 miles) of 8-inch PVC waterline, 20,000 linear feet (3.8 miles) of6-inch PVC waterline, and 2,000 linear feet (0.38 miles) of 4-inch PVC waterline with accompanying hydrants, valves, and service connections. Also included is the installation of steel casing by jack and bore methods, the removal and replacement of asphalt pavement, and connections to the existing system. The improvements will benefit the 890 residential and 16 other users within the Salem area. The RD obligation includes a $610,000 loan and a $2,051,300 Colonia Grant. Plus, a $263,717 Colonias Infrastructure Project Fund Loan/Grant from the Colonias Infrastructure Board and the New Mexico Finance Authority has been obligated, for a total project cost of $2,925,017.
The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is receiving a $26,045,315 loan/grant Rural Development (RD) investment to be used to build a new wastewater delivery and treatment plant in Shiprock, New Mexico. This new facility is a necessity as the old system exceeded Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) standards with very high rates of effluent being released into the San Juan River over 20 times from 2016 to 2017. This project will serve approximately 8,300 residents in the community of Shiprock, New Mexico, with approximately 33.7 % of the population living in poverty. This new facility will service the current 6,000 residents currently connected as will enable the remaining 2,300 residents to connect to the new system which will help in preventing future ground water contamination. This facility will also enable the community of Shiprock to service areas with planned subdivisions coming in to the area for the next twenty years.
The Village of Pecos, will receive a Rural Development (RD) loan/grant package in the amount of $4,058,900 to construct a new wastewater system by installing new sewage collection lines that will be connected to the current wastewater system at the Village of Pecos, New Mexico. East Pecos Mutual Domestic Water Users Association is in an un-incorporated area in a Persistent Poverty county in the northeast region of New Mexico. East Pecos residents are all connected to septic tanks in varying age and condition. Because of their low incomes, many residents of the East Pecos community will not be able to afford a new on-site wastewater system that complies with state laws and regulations once their current systems fail. Failing on-site wastewater systems can affect the health of the community through direct human sewage contact or through contact with vector animals (insects, birds, reptiles, small mammals or pets). East Pecos is an old community and many of these septic systems were installed prior to the current New Mexico on-site wastewater regulations. Installing sewer collection lines will reduce the possibility of human or animal contact with sewage from failing on-site septic systems and reduce the amount of pollutants from entering the ground water and the river recharge in this location. The project will serve 762 residents.
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.