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USDA Partners to Improve Water and Wastewater Infrastructure for More than 442,000 Rural Americans Across 42 States

Beverly Fish
Release Date

   BOISE, Idaho, Sept. 17, 2018 – Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that USDA is investing $392 million to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states.

   “Put simply, modern and reliable water infrastructure is foundational to quality of life and economic development,” Hazlett said. “USDA’s partnerships with rural communities underscore Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s commitment to rural people and the places they call home.”  

   USDA is supporting investments in 120 infrastructure projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. It can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents. In many cases, states, other federal partners and nonprofits are working with USDA to also provide funding for these projects.

   Hazlett announced the awards here today during the Water Pro Conference hosted by the National Rural Water Association. Below are some examples of the types of investments USDA is making to improve infrastructure in Idaho’s rural communities:

  • The Bruneau Water and Sewer District located in Bruneau, Idaho is receiving a $650,000 loan and $1,582,000 grant to reconstruct, raise, and re-line the wastewater treatment lagoon system. Capacity will be increased, allowing the system to meet State requirements.  Additional funding includes a $30,000 Rural Development Pre-Development planning grant; $4,978 applicant contribution, $500,000 Idaho Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant, $1,200,000 in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 595 funding, and a $19,077 Idaho Department of Environmental Quality Planning Grant.
  • The Central Shoshone County Water District located in Wallace, Idaho is receiving a $1,100,000 loan and $300,000 grant to replace old, leaking water distribution pipes. The project will benefit 2,674 water users in Shoshone County.  Additional funding includes a $309,000 applicant contribution, and $1,650,000 in Rural Development Water & Waste Disposal loan funds obligated in 2016.
  • The city of Council, Idaho received a $4,179,000 loan and $221,000 grant to construct new sewer treatment lagoons in the city of Council. In addition, nearly 10,000 feet of leaky sewer mains will be replaced within the city, along with 65 manholes being either replaced or repaired. The new lagoon treatment system will enable the city to meet Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) sewer discharge permit limits and no longer be in violation. The collection system improvements will reduce infiltration and inflow into the treatment system and thereby reduce the volume of sewage treated. The 524 users connected to the system will have their risk and costs reduced by not having to pay Environmental Protection Agency/State of Idaho levied fines for violating their discharge permit.  Additional funding includes $262,500 in applicant contribution, $2,150,000 in IDEQ SRF Funding, $37,500 In IDEQ-SRF Planning Grant, $400,000 on USACE Section 595, and $30,000 in Rural Development Pre-Development Planning Grant funds.

   USDA is making investments in rural communities in: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansans, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming. 

   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 $1.8 billion in FY 2017. The bill also directs Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to make investments in rural communities with the greatest infrastructure needs.

   Eligible rural communities and water districts can apply online for funding to maintain, modernize or build water and wastewater systems. They can visit the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can 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 www.rd.usda.gov.