Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development Anne Hazlett today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing $256 million in 81 projects to improve water and wastewater infrastructure in rural areas in 35 states.
“These investments underscore USDA’s commitment to improving rural infrastructure,” Hazlett said. “Through a strong partnership with rural America, USDA is ensuring that rural residents and businesses have the modern, reliable infrastructure services they need to support the quality of life in rural America.”
USDA Rural Development State Director Timothy P. Hobbs said, “This important $2.27 million investment in rural wastewater infrastructure will help the Town of East Millinocket complete necessary upgrades to its system so that it can dependably serve 737 residential, 28 commercial and 7 governmental customers.”
The Town of East Millinocket has been selected to receive $2,276,000 in Rural Development Water and Wastewater Loan and Grant funds. This investment will be used to upgrade the Town's Waste Water Treatment Facility. The project will replace outdated and oversized structures which were once needed for the previous mill site. The improvements include a new headworks building with preliminary treatment equipment, influent monitoring and sampling equipment, 3 cell aerated lagoon system, aeration blowers, chemical building and equipment, chlorine contact tank, control building modification, new electrical service entrance and transformer. Upgrades include higher efficiency equipment which will result in more affordable operations for the users of the system.
The recently enacted Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Omnibus spending bill includes a significant boost in financial support for water and wastewater projects. It provides $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.
In addition to the 2018 bill, President Trump has proposed a $200 billion infrastructure plan. Twenty-five percent of new federal money ($50 billion of $200 billion) would be allocated to rural projects.
The loans and grants Hazlett announced today are being awarded through USDA’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program. The funds can be used to finance drinking water, stormwater drainage and waste disposal systems for households and businesses in communities with 10,000 or fewer residents.
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.