USDA Partners to Improve Rural Water Infrastructure

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Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $267 million in 103 infrastructure projects to upgrade water and wastewater systems in rural communities.

   “Robust, modern infrastructure is foundational for quality of life and economic opportunity – no matter what zip code you live in,” Hazlett said. “Under Secretary Perdue’s leadership, USDA is committed to being a strong partner in addressing rural infrastructure needs to support a more prosperous future in rural communities.”

    USDA is making investments in 35 states through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, storm water drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.

Below are some examples of USDA’s water infrastructure partnerships in Montana:

  • In Stillwater County, the community of Absarokee is receiving a $3.6 million loan and a $1,448,000 grant for a project that will improve its water system. The proposed improvements will significantly improve the quality of the discharge that flows into the Rosebud Creek, also improving the water quality for downstream users. This investment will serve a population of approximately 1,150 people.

  • The town of Paradise in Sanders County will receive a $376,000 loan and $1,692,000 grant to help finance the installation of a wastewater collection and treatment system. The current sub-standard treatment methods are contributing to degraded water quality both for the town’s domestic water supply and the adjacent Clark Fork River.  This project will serve approximately 163 rural residents.

  • The city of Scobey, located in Daniels County, will use a $2.5 million loan and $507,000 grant to improve its waste water system. The existing system was originally constructed in 1919, and much of the original cast iron main is still in service. The project is needed to alleviate health and sanitary concerns, as well as improve water system efficiency. This investment will positively affect 615 users; 508 residential households and 107 non-residential users.

   In FY 2018, Congress provided a historic level of funding for water and wastewater infrastructure. The 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes $5.2 billion for USDA loans and grants, up from $1.2 billion in FY 2017. It also directs Agriculture Secretary Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

   Rural community leaders can apply for these funds electronically by using the interactive RD Apply tool. They can also apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field 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


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Last Modified: 07/16/2018