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.
“USDA and the Trump administration have made it a priority to rebuild American infrastructure and forge a path toward greater prosperity,” said Layne Bangerter, Idaho Rural Development State Director. “Today’s announcement includes funding for six rural Idaho infrastructure projects that will provide access to safe and clean drinking water, and sanitary sewer systems which is vital to achieving a high quality of life and rural prosperity.”
Below are some examples of USDA’s partnerships in water infrastructure:
- The city of Kendrick, Idaho, will use a $600,000 loan and a $600,000 grant to replace sewer collection pipes to eliminate ground water inflow and infiltration into the waste water system. This investment will provide much needed improvements for the system’s 204 Equivalent Dwelling Units. The city of Kendrick is waiting for a new waste water discharge permit from the Environmental Protection Agency and by eliminating the inflow and infiltration into the waste water system the treatment plant addition can be sized properly, which will be constructed in a subsequent phase as soon as the new discharge permit is received. This project previously received funding from USDA; a $628,000 Rural Development WEP loan and $671,000 WEP grant awarded in FY 2015; and a $39,000 Rural Development WEP grant awarded in FY 2016.
- The city of New Meadows, Idaho, received a $673,000 loan and a $672,500 grant to drill a new well, replace water distribution lines, replace an aging booster station and construct a new water storage tank. The water distribution lines are old and have numerous leaks. The city of New Meadows does not have a reliable source of water to meet all its needs. The current water storage tank is old and needs to be replaced. This investment will provide reliable water to 123 residential, 83 multi-family, 30 commercial locations, eight public buildings, and six industrial buildings in the city of New Meadows. Previous Rural Development funding for this project was a $22,000 Rural Development WEP grant awarded in FY 2015.
- The city of Notus, Idaho, received a $186,000 loan and $80,000 grant to replace sewer system collection lines. The city's collection lines are old and have had continued problems with collapsing and leaking lines. The city of Notus has 205 residential, 17 small commercial, and four public building connections to the sewer system. The city's 531 residents will benefit by having less money spent on emergency repairs as well as cutting down on infiltration of ground water into the collection system from leaking pipes. Previous Rural Development funding for this project was a $1,305,000 Rural Development WEP loan and $380,000 WEP grant awarded in FY 2016.
- The Picket Corral subdivision located near Emmett, Idaho received a $98,000 loan and $32,500 grant to construct a new water storage tank. The existing tank is old, and the internal integrity is degraded. There are 27 homeowners in the Picket Corral subdivision that will benefit by having a secure drinking water supply. Previous Rural Development funding for this project was a $220,000 Rural Development loan and a $143,500 grant awarded in FY 2016.
- The city of Priest River, Idaho received a $550,000 loan and $250,000 grant to improve the city’s wastewater system by replacing aging collection system piping, replacing deteriorated manholes and upgrading lift stations. The project will reduce inflow and infiltration into the collection system. There are 672 users connected to the wastewater system that will benefit from the improvements by having a much-improved system that is more efficient. Previous Rural Development funding for this project was a $2,650,000 Rural Development loan and a $700,000 grant awarded in FY 2016, and a $30,000 Rural Development grant under the Special Evaluation Assistance for Rural Communities and Households program.
- The Rapid River Water & Sewer District located near Riggins, Idaho, received a $365,000 loan and $596,000 grant to make needed repairs to the Rapid River Water & Sewer District drinking water system. Currently, one of their two wells experiences seasonal low water levels and their water storage reservoir is aging and does not meet Idaho Department of Environmental Quality standards. In addition, the system has only one fire hydrant. The results are inadequate fire suppression for the users and, at times, inadequate water supply. The project will solve these problems and benefit the district's 50 residential users by constructing a new well, new 80,000-gallon water storage reservoir, seven new fire hydrants and a new 12-inch water transmission main from the new reservoir to the distribution system. Previous Rural Development funding for this project was a $21,000 Rural Development WEP grant awarded in FY 2016.
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.
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.