OHKAY OWINGEH , N.M., July 7, 2021 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $307 million to modernize rural drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in 34 states and Puerto Rico.
The investments being announced today follow President Biden’s announcement last week of a Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework that will make the largest investment in clean drinking water in American history. The Framework will replace all of the nation’s lead pipes and service lines, helping address barriers faced by communities of color, Tribal communities, and people who live in rural America.
“Every community needs safe, reliable and modern water and wastewater systems,” Secretary Vilsack said. “The consequences of decades of disinvestment in physical infrastructure have fallen most heavily on communities of color. This is why USDA is investing in water infrastructure in rural and Tribal communities that need it most – to help them build back better, stronger and more equitably than ever before.”
USDA is financing the projects through the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program. The investments will help eliminate outdated pipes and service lines to safeguard public health and safety in rural communities. They will improve rural infrastructure for 250,000 residents and businesses, 7,214 of which are in Rural Virginia, according to USDA Rural Development Acting State Director for Virginia, Terry Rosta.
Virginia projects include:
• The Town of Hillsville will receive a $3,121,000 loan to improve the town's wastewater collection system. Construction includes the rehabilitation of approximately 7,425 linear feet of vitrified clay piping either by lining or replacement, along with the replacement and/or rehabilitation of brick and concrete manholes and related appurtenances. The completion of this project will alleviate a health and sanitary hazard and bring the system into compliance with the Department of Environmental Quality's regulations.
• Kilmarnock, VA will receive a loan of $6,611,000 and a grant of $2,626,000 to make improvements to the town's wastewater treatment plant. Construction includes modification of two Schreiber plants to the 5-Stage Bardenpho process; aeration system upgrades; a new glycerin feed facility; replacement of filters with cloth disk filters; replacement of the ultraviolet disinfection system with a low pressure, high output system; and related appurtenances.
• The Town of Louisa will receive a $1,402,000 loan for improvements to the town's water distribution system. Construction includes burying approximately 3,260 linear feet of 8" PVC pipe; approximately 3,240 linear feet of 6" PVC pipe; and related appurtenances. A health hazard exists because the town is unable to deliver an adequate quantity and a sufficient quality of water to its customers and unable to provide the minimum-required pressure of 20 psi as required by the Virginia Department of Health's regulations. This project will alleviate the health hazard.
• Clarksville, VA will receive a loan of $602,000 and a grant of $1,668,000 to improve the town's wastewater treatment plant. Improvements include the installation of an integrated fixed film activated sludge system; an activated sludge reactor with a center divider wall and diffusers; submersible mixers; piping; blower building; demolishing the existing Kinderton pump station and replacing it with 3 new grinder pumps; and related appurtenances.
The Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program provides funding for clean and reliable drinking water systems, sanitary sewage disposal, sanitary solid waste disposal, and storm water drainage. The program serves households and businesses in eligible rural areas with populations of 10,000 or less.
To learn more about these and other resources for rural areas, contact a USDA Rural Development state office.
Under the Biden-Harris Administration, Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov. If you’d like to subscribe to USDA Rural Development updates, visit our GovDelivery subscriber page.
USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.