United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for Minnesota Brad Finstad today announced more than $13 million in investments to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in Minnesota.
“Modern and reliable infrastructure - whether it’s water, wastewater, public safety or healthcare - is essential to the growth and development of rural communities,” Finstad said. “These projects will help ensure that the cities of Currie and Lakefield not only provide safe, sanitary water/wastewater services, but also continue to grow by attracting more homeowners and businesses.”
The city of Currie, Minn., will use a $900,000 loan and $1,574,000 grant to replace deteriorated water lines in its water system, install remote-read meters, renovate the existing water tower, and repair portions of the water treatment and storm sewer collection system infrastructure. The project will enable the city to have a safe and more reliable water supply for residents. More than 230 residents will benefit from this investment.
In Lakefield, Minn., the city will use an $8.4 million loan and $2.5 million grant to replace current water mains and streamline wastewater treatment efficiencies. This project will help improve the water quality for the 1,700 residents, eliminating the need for in-home water softeners, and reducing the chloride levels in the wastewater treatment plant.
Finstad’s announcement is in coordination with Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s nationwide announcement of USDA’s $392 million investment to help rebuild and improve rural water and wastewater infrastructure in 42 states: 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.
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.
Below are more examples of the types of investments USDA is making to improve infrastructure in rural communities:
The city of Stuttgart, Ark., will use a $1 million loan to replace deteriorated water lines in its water system. The project will enable the city to have a safe and more reliable water supply for residents. More than 9,300 residents will benefit from this investment.
The city of Swartz Creek, Mich., will use a $2.9 million loan and a $2.3 million grant to make improvements to its water system. A majority of the distribution system was developed 40-50 years ago with mostly cast-iron pipe. The water mains are growing increasingly brittle and have experienced numerous breaks in the past five years. With each break, customers receive a boil water notice of varying durations. A majority of the water main has exceeded its life expectancy. The project includes replacing approximately four miles of water main, hydrants and valves, and making other repairs. The project will serve 2,098 residential and 216 commercial customers.
In Oral, S.D., the Fall River Water Users District is receiving a $506,000 loan and a $401,000 grant to dig a new well. The District has two wells, one of which is not producing the quantity of water that was expected. Constructing a new well, west of Fairburn, will supplement the system and provide an adequate supply of water to better serve its 1,015 customers.
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 local area 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/mn.