USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced loans and grants for 141 projects to build and improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities across the nation. In Maine three systems have been selected to receive a total of $10.6 million for essential upgrades.
"Many rural communities need to upgrade and repair their water and wastewater systems, but often lack the resources to do so," Vilsack said. "These loans and grants will help accomplish this goal. USDA's support for infrastructure improvements is an essential part of building strong rural economies."
USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel said, “This significant $10.6 million investment in Maine’s wastewater infrastructure will have an important impact on the communities served through providing the necessary infrastructure for economic development, benefiting jobs and local businesses, improving facilities for household users, and preserving Maine’s waterways for the wildlife they support.”
In Maine, three systems have been selected to receive a total of $10.6 million for upgrades:
- City of Brewer has been selected to receive a total of $1.9 million (Water and Waste Direct Loan of $1,500,000 and Water and Waste Grant of $400,000). Funds will be used to Rural Development funds will be used by the City of Brewer for essential wastewater collection system and treatment facility upgrades. The project will prevent public health concerns and comply with standards of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. The sewer system currently serves approximately 2800 households and 370 businesses and public facilities. This project will provide the upgrades needed so that the City can continue to provide adequate wastewater services to the community and preserve the Penobscot River, which is home to Atlantic salmon and shortnose sturgeon, among other wildlife populations.
- Town of Wilton has been selected to receive a total of $4.1 million (Water and Waste Direct Loan of $2,750,000 and Water and Waste Grant of $1,350,000). Funds will be used for a cost-overrun. This project Rural Development funds are being used to upgrade the wastewater treatment system that has surpassed its 20 year expected useful life by approximately 12 years. If the wastewater treatment system were to fail due to the age or the inoperable, undersized, or obsolete technology it would potentially cause a discharge of untreated wastewater into Wilson Stream which is a prime brook trout stream. Also a failure of one of the systems 16 antiquated pump stations located along Wilson Pond could allow for a raw sewerage spill into Wilson Pond. This project will benefit 885 users.
- Town of Oxford has been selected to receive a total of $4.6 million (Water and Waste Direct Loan of $3,601,000 and Water and Waste Grant of $999,000). Funds will be used for a cost-overrun to the project. Rural Development funding is being used to build an entirely new wastewater treatment facility and collection system. This consists of a series of 7 pump stations, 48,350 linear feet of pipes, and a Membrane Bioreactor Waste System. The system was built with the needs of the current potential users and future capacity and economic development of the area and job creation in mind. This project will benefit 383 users.
USDA is awarding $299 million for 88 projects in the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program and $15 million for 53 grants in the Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) program.
ECWAG grants enable water systems that serve eligible rural communities to prepare for, or recover from, imminent or actual emergencies that threaten the availability of safe drinking water. Water and Waste program recipients can use funds to construct water and waste facilities in rural communities.
Since 2009, USDA has helped provide improved water and wastewater services to nearly 18 million rural residents by investing $12.3 billion in 5,174 projects.
Funding of each award announced today is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the grant and loan agreement.
USDA Rural Development has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 60 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA Rural Development's web site at http://www.rd.usda.gov/me.