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, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for rural communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
Eligible communities and water districts can apply online on the interactive RD Apply tool, or they can apply through one of USDA Rural Development’s state or field offices.
Below are some examples of the investments USDA is making in South Carolina:
• The Saluda County Water and Sewer Authority will receive a $12,461,000 loan to construct a water treatment plant. The new plant will help the authority to become efficient in its operations and bring more water to its 1,300 residential customers. The Holley Ferry Phase II project will allow for a significant expansion of customers with the potential to provide water connections to nearby towns. This could transform the authority from a local provider of water to a regional supplier. In addition, they will receive $21,371,000 to increase capacity and reduce treatment cost by constructing a wastewater treatment plant, influent and effluent force main, submerged diffuser, and booster pump station. The investment will also be used to modify the Town of Saluda/Saluda Commission of Public Works wastewater treatment plant. The plant will service the southeastern portion of Saluda County Water and Sewer Authority and the Town of Saluda/Saluda Commission of Public Works service area, which includes three large industrial users. This investment will benefit the 3,023 residents in the service area.
• The Laurens County Water and Sewer Commission is receiving a $6,041,930 loan to provide a more stable source of water by increasing quality and quantity for the water company's 13,000 estimated customers. The project will add transmission lines and upgraded treatment technologies to include high-rate flow clarification treatment, advanced oxidation processes, powdered activated carbon (C) and ozone. The project will help to address the growth of Laurens County and the increasing cost of supplying its customers through wholesale water purchasing.
• The City of Abbeville will use a $3,725,500 loan to make sewer treatment system improvements. The project will convert the existing lined aeration basin into a smaller aeration basin with surface aeration, expanding the existing sludge storage tank to be used for aerobic sludge digestion, and replacing the influent screen. This project will serve Abbevile's approximately 5,800 customers.
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/sc.