The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development office in Virginia today announced that USDA is investing $218,000 in water infrastructure to improve the quality of life for a rural community in Virginia.
“At USDA, we believe that reliable water infrastructure is a necessity—not an amenity,” said Beth Green, USDA Rural Development Virginia State Director. “We are proud to partner with Virginia-Carolina Water Authority to ensure that people in rural communities have access to safe and reliable water.”
Virginia-Carolina Water Authority received a Water and Waste Disposal Loan to make improvements at the existing membrane filtration water treatment plant to maintain and improve operations and services for the towns of Independence, VA and Sparta, NC. Improvements will help support the plant to reliably supply its permitted water capacity of one million gallons per day. Prior to the loan, the Authority has been limited to supplying approximately 40 percent of its permitted capacity.
Funds will be used to construct a raw water intake in the New River and two absorption clarifiers at the plant, allowing the plant to utilize the river as a supplementary raw water source. The project also includes SCADA improvements, a generator for the raw water pumps, and other related appurtenances. These additional loan funds are provided as the result of a bid overrun from a previous Water and Waste Disposal Loan of nearly $1.2 million and a Water and Waste Disposal Grant of $572,000.
Today’s announcement comes as part of Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett’s national announcement this week highlighting 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.
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 www.rd.usda.gov.